NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 24 – The High Court has ruled that Senators can summon Governors over the mismanagement of public funds.
Justices Isaac Lenaola, Mumbi Ngugi and George Odunga ruled that it was proper and legal for the county chiefs to appear before the Senate Public Accounts Committee to respond to questions over mismanaged county finances.
The judges held that Article 96 of the Constitution gives authority to the Senate to undertake an oversight function.
Governors had argued that the Senate could not personally summon them to appear before it to answer queries on use of county finances.
They had contended that the Senate was limited to oversight institutions which manage national revenue allocated to counties like the Treasury.
“The move by the Senate to summon us is total disregard of the procedure and requirements of public finance management under the Public Finance Management Act 2012,” the Governors argued.
However, the judges declared that the Senate does not have the sole constitutional powers to direct the National Treasury and Controller of Budget not to release funds to counties without following the provisions of Article 225 of the constitution.
The court said that stoppage of funds to a county public entity can only be done by following the provisions of article 225 of the constitution.
The Council of Governors believes that the Senate can only exercise its powers under Article 125 of the Constitution to scrutinize county financial and other records for purposes of making a determination with regard to impeachment.
Governors Jack Ranguma, Mwangi Wa Iria, William Kabogo and Isaac Ruto who defied Senate summons insisted that they were only accountable to County Assemblies.