, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 24 – Garissa Governor Nathif Jama has been summoned to appear before the Senate’s County Public Accounts and Investments Committee on October 14 to respond to audit queries.
If he fails to honour the summons, the Senate will issue a penalty which could amount to suspension of funds meant for the county.
Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale who chairs the committee said similar action would be meted on all defiant governors since most of them were undermining the role of the Senate.
“There is a deliberate effort of making Senate to look like it’s toothless. Now we begin the journey of somebody facing the consequences of failing to honor summons. So we issue summons and this will be the high standard that now will apply across the board from here and now,” ruled Khalwale.
He went on to say that the Garissa Governor would be surcharged for authorising wasteful use of funds by allowing the county delegation led by the County Secretary to attend the sittings yet he knew that the sittings would not proceed without his presence.
“The governor is now being held responsible for the wasteful expenditure. It’s going to be quantified, you will surrender all documents of expenditure to the office of the auditor so that this determination is made and the punishment is meted,” directed Khalwale.
The County Secretary who led the delegation said the governor was unable to appear before committee because he was held up in stakeholder meeting over the drought situation in Garissa County.
“We did not have any malicious intent of fixing the two events at the same day, and the event that the governor was coming for today is the Senate session, but because of the emergency situation and tomorrow’s launch of this event. In fact, we deliberately moved the launch of the relief programme to tomorrow because of the Senate meeting today,” pleaded the County Secretary.
His explanation had initiated a debate among members of the committee with Kiambu Senator Kimani wa Matangi who was the mover of the motion to summon the governor saying stern action needed to be taken against Jama so as to act as an example to others.
On his part, Kisumu senator Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o said the stakeholder meeting could have been chaired by the deputy governor in the absence of the governor as enshrined in the Constitution.
“The excuse that you have sent to me is completely null ab initio. The job we are doing here is not Senate created, the job we are doing here is created by the Constitution as well as the County Governments Act, and all of us are here to obey the law,” the Kisumu Senator said.
Busia Senator Amos Wako questioned the delegation on why the meetings were fixed on the same day as the committee meeting yet they had received the notice of the meeting in advance.
“Maybe you are fixing those very important meetings to coincide with this meeting to have a reason for the governor not to be present,” posed Wako.
While defending their governor, the Garissa county delegation insisted that there was no malice in fixing the events on the same day.