, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 7 – Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria retained his post on Friday after the Senate declared that the accusations against him did not meet the threshold for impeachment.
The Governor was facing charges of abuse of office, misappropriation of county funds and violation of the Constitution, the Public Finance Management Act and the Public Procurement and Oversight Act.
Out of the 11 members, eight voted in favour of the report recommending that Iria remains in office while two found him to have committed the offence. There was one absentation.
Initially the proceedings were scheduled to begin at 3pm but by 7pm, the session was yet to begin forcing the Speaker to adjourn it to 7:30pm to allow time to the other eight members to make their way to Parliament.
Nominated Senator Elizabeth Ongoro alleged that the delay was occasioned by the possibility that the recommendations were ‘being cooked’ saying it was not appropriate for the committee members to arrive in shifts.
“In the 2007 election Kivuitu said that the results were delayed because they were arriving at different intervals. Could it be that the report being submitted is not the one that was decided since two members of the same committee are here? She asked.
“The Murang’a people are watching us and I think it is unfair that we have kept them waiting because I believe they are anxious,” added Nominated Senator Beatrice Elachi.
“The work we are doing here is not simple — it is about the management of a serious institution known as the county government. In Murang’a Kenyans are sitting in the hotel awaiting the decision of the Senate,” Elegyo-Marakwet County Senator Kipchumba Murkomen retorted.
Kakamega County Senator Boni Khalwale warned that if the Senate did not expedite the process as per the law, the outcome would most likely be challenged in court and declared null and void for lacking procedure.
The Committee had proposed to release the report on Saturday because of the magnitude of the work, but Senators insisted that the sitting be held Friday due to the prior engagements they had.
Iria was impeached on October 21, after 34 out of 49 MCAs voted for his removal for the alleged gross violation of the Constitution, gross misconduct and abuse of office.
The committee had 10 days to report to the House if the allegations levelled against the governor were substantiated, but started its work late because they had to wait for a court ruling on whether they could go ahead and hear the matter.
READ: Court allows Senate to pursue Iria impeachment
During the sitting, Iria’s lawyers claimed the MCAs had ill intentions and argued that the governor became a target after he refused to sign into law an unconstitutional bill that would have seen each ward representative control Sh20 million in development funds.
READ: Iria accuses Murang’a County Assembly of malice
They told the 11-member committee that the assembly violated all the provisions for impeachment in moving the motion by not giving the governor an opportunity to be heard.
Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo told the special committee that the agency advised both the Assembly and the executive that the Appropriation Bill was unconstitutional. Because of this, it would not release the Sh700 million development kitty demanded by the MCAs.
READ: Iria boost as CoB terms Ward Development Fund unlawful