NAIROBI, Kenya, May 24 – Senators in the County Public Accounts and Investment Committee want Kakamega Governor Oparanya barred from vying governorship for snubbing summons over audit queries.
Committee Chairman Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu) led Senators John Lonyangapuo (West Pokot) and Boni Khalwale (Kakamega) in saying Oparanya has disobeyed all summonses that would have allowed him set the record straight on Sh30 billion that has been devolved to the county in the last four years.
“He is unable to account on how money was spent. He must not be cleared for failing to account for resources devolved to the counties from the national government through the Senate,” Nyongo said.
Lonyangapuo, said of the 47 governors, only Oparanya has failed to appear before the watchdog committee to explain how the county had spent money allocated to it.
Records provided by the Committee indicate that the Kakamega Governor has been defying PAIC sanctions to answer audit queries for the financial years 2013/2014, 2014/2015 and 2015/2016.
“I believe there is a reason why Governor Oparanya refuses to sit before this committee and chooses to go to court,” said the West Pokot Senator.
Oparanya was recently quoted dismissing the threats by the Senators to have him barred from running for re-election on August 8 if he fails to appear before them to answer to audit queries.
The Kakamega Governor said the Senate has no powers to bar anybody from contesting because the institution has no power to clear candidates to run for office.
DPP Keriako Tobiko who is among the stakeholders at Wednesday’s meeting advised the Senators to apply Article 193(g) of the Constitution which enables them to declare a public or state officer unfit to hold office instead of over-relying on independent commissions.
Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi said the Constitution requires accountability from all public officers.
“Residents of Kakamega should know for past four and a half years how the governor has spent in excess of Sh30 billion. He has not accounted for those funds, which is against the constitutional requirement.”
Some of the issues raised by the Auditor General were misappropriation and irregular diversion of county funds.
The audit also pointed out the lack of documentation to support expenditure.
The probe also revealed contraventions of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act.
“We will not be the first to say Wycliffe Oparanya is not fit to hold public office. Having said it is not enough. This is one of the reasons we have been dying to have Oparanya here to respond,” said Khalwale.
Kakamega Senator Khalwale who is vying for Kakamega gubernatorial seat clashed with IEBC Director for Legal and Public Affairs Praxedes Tororey after he accused her of taking the Committee casually.
The Committee has now invited IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, Attorney-General, Ethic and Anti-Corruption Commission and Director of Public Prosecutions to a meeting Thursday to deliberate on the issue.