, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 2 – The Senate has given the National Treasury two weeks to suspend funding to Kiambu, Bomet and Kisumu Counties.
This is due to failure by the three counties to honor summonses to appear before the Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee to respond to audit queries emanating from reports by the Auditor General outlining the spending of county funds by counties.
“I want to move the motion that within 14 days from now, the National Treasury should have implemented the decision of the Senate and communicated to the Senate about that implementation,” ruled Boni Khalwale who chairs Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee.
Khalwale further expressed the committee’s disappointment in the manner in which the National Treasury handled the matter since it had taken them 25 days to respond since the Senate wrote to them on August 7, 2014.
“The National Treasury… this meeting has confirmed, has treated the matter very casually. You have taken too long as if the county governments do not matter, as if the decisions of the Senate do not bind you,” added Khalwale.
The Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo who was also present during the briefing told the accounts committee that they were yet to get authorisation from the National Treasury which is the body mandated by the Constitution to authorize suspension of funding to any organ which receives funds from the National Government.
“We were waiting for the Cabinet Secretary (National Treasury) to formally write to us,” Odhiambo said.
According to Kamau Thugge, the National Treasury Principal Secretary, their delay in taking action on the counties was due to the fact that his office was yet to prove that there was serious breach of the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act.
Committee members were angered by the fact that the National Treasury seemingly took the matter casually urging the Cabinet Secretary to take his work seriously.
The PFM Act mandates the Cabinet Secretary to stop transfer of funds if a county government is found to be in serious or persistent material breach of its obligations or financial commitments.