NAIROBI, Kenya, July 1 – The Senate has told off President Uhuru Kenyatta over his proposed amendments to the Public Audit Bill.
Finance and Commerce committee chairman Billow Kerrow accused the Executive of encroaching on the mandate of Parliament citing the Public Audit Bill which the President declined to assent to and instead proposed amendments to Parliament.
“You cannot have Parliament pass a Bill and then the Executive returns it with a fresh set of amendments; this is not acceptable! Whether it is the President or the Executive, the mandate of making Bills is not their mandate,” said Kerrow.
He said they were waiting for the Bill and the memorandum which has been returned to the National Assembly to be forwarded to the Senate before they can formally issue a stand on the matter.
Part of the proposals by President Uhuru Kenyatta included amending the law to have the office of the Auditor General subservient to the Public Service Commission an issue the Senators said would expose the independent office tasked with exposing theft of public funds to manipulation.
The committee has in the past week been receiving petitions from residents of various counties decrying misappropriation of funds by the leadership.
The committee leant that they together with Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro had been enjoined in a lawsuit by the Kiambu county Government and the Council of Governors which had sought orders barring the committee from hearing the petition by the residents.
“It is an abuse of the court process, you cannot take everything to court,” Kerrow lamented.
He said the plot by the governors was meant to prevent them from accounting for public funds saying the Senate would stand its ground to ensure public funds are not squandered.
“Every attempt by the COG or any county government to try and avoid accountability by engaging the court and refusing to appear before this committee or the Senate is a waste of time and it is not going to succeed. We will demand that counties be accountable,” added Kerrow.
The Senators at the same time threatened to surcharge the Kiambu county government and the Council of governors for using public funds to pay for the legal fees in the lawsuits yet they had not utilized all avenues of dispute resolution as per the law.
The Senators who seemingly on a troll added their voice to the reported delay in disbursement of County funds by urging Treasury to respect the law saying it’s actions were undermining devolution.
“Treasury is behind schedule by over a month, this is worrying. We want to warn to warn them that they cannot set their own rules,” stated Kerrow.
He further called on Treasury to submit a schedule outlining the transfer of funds to Counties so as to clear the mess.