, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 25 – The High Court on Monday come to the rescue of three governors who were supposed to appear before the Senate on Tuesday.
Justice Isaac Lenaola said Isaac Ruto (Bomet County), William Kabogo (Kiambu County) and Jack Ranguma (Kisumu County) should not honour summons to appear before the Senate to answer questions relating to financial management in their respective county governments pending hearing of the petition before the court.
The Governors’ lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi told Justice Lenaola, that the Senate has usurped the constitutional power of County Assemblies in purporting to question them over financial management yet they are not the accounting officers.
He told the court it’s the County Executive Committee and chief officers at the counties who are the actual officers who supposed to appear before Senate and not the governors.
Abdullahi submitted that the Senate had on August 14 approved a resolution stopping the National Treasury and the Controller of Budget from transferring any money to the three counties until their Governors respond to audit queries.
“The resolution is illegal and contravenes the Constitution and if the same is adopted, the operations at the counties may grind to a halt on account of the said unconstitutional actions of the Senate,” he said.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has already appointed Justices Lenaola, Mumbi Ngugi and George Odunga to hear the petition on September 12.
County Public Accounts and Investments Committee chairman Senator Boni Khalwale brought the motion to the Senate ordering the Controller of Budget not to authorise any withdrawals for Bomet, Kisumu, Murang’a and Kiambu counties.
The sanction against Murang’a Governor Mwangi Iria was suspended over a week ago after he appeared before the Senate watchdog committee which is currently going through audited accounts of the 47 counties for a period covering the first six months of last year.
Kiambu Governor Kabogo has rejected nine summonses from the committee and instead has written a letter to Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro, saying the mandate of running his government far supersedes the requirement to appear before the committee.
Governors Ruto and Ranguma vowed not to honour the summons issued by the Khalwale committee and instead accused it of employing scare tactics.