, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 14 – Murang’a is out of the list of Counties whose funds had been suspended by the Senate after its Governor Mwangi wa Iria appeared before the Sessional County Public Accounts and Investments committee which was probing the audit report of the 47 counties.
The committee’s chairman Boni Khalwale said they had also suspended a summons issued to the governor.
“We will move the House then the House will resolve that Murang’a be removed from the list of the offending counties,” he said.
The governor had explained that his failure to appear before the committee had been prompted by the fact that the letter requesting his presence in the meeting did not indicate specific issues he needed to address.
He also cited that he had been angered by the fact that the team of accounting officers he had sent to appear before the Senate committee had not been given time to address the senators. Following this incident, the governor is reported to have made statements that according to the Senators demeaned them and their responsibility an issue that prompted them to demand an apology, which he tendered.
Wa Iria was then put to task over the failure by the Murang’a County government to take over some of the local authorities after it emerged that some of the assets of previous local governments were being distributed without proper procedure.
In his defence the governor blamed the Transition Authority – the body charged with the responsibility of ensuring smooth transition to the devolved government – for failing to put in place mechanisms for handing over. The transition authority took up the blame saying already its officers were on the ground and that the handover exercise would be complete by December 31.
The governor was also asked to furnish the committee with accounts of how Sh22.7million initially set aside for projects was used after the Auditor General’s report indicated that the money was diverted to pay for salaries and allowances for county staff. Mwangi said this was done because the Transition Authority had not given them money to pay its workers. The committee also heard that Murang’s county did not have any ghost workers.
The governor is expected to appear before the committee on August 28 to finalise the probe of the audit report. He is also supposed to submit copies of financial records documenting the assets of the county and minutes of meetings held by the tender committee after it was reported that competitive bidding process was not employed during tendering.
Other governors that have defied summons to appear before the Senate committee include those from Bomet, Kisumu and Kiambu.