MPs: Senators seek bribe in county audits
Mercy Mwai and Hillary Mageka
Members of the National Assembly yesterday accused senators of soliciting bribes from governors to “sanitise” audit queries raised by the Auditor-General.
At the same time, they claimed senators were misusing public resources on “Senate Mashinani” sittings such as the one currently going on in Kitui county, which they argue are of no help to Kenyans.
From the floor of the House on Wednesday, the MPs—led by Leader of Majority Aden Duale—claimed instead of senators oversighting county governments, they were in bed with the 47 county bosses.
In particular, Duale claimed the Senate watchdog committee, unlike its National Assembly counterpart, has never produced any report indicting a governor.
“The Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC) has never produced any report indicting any governor, since the House started its sitting in the 12th Parliament,” Duale alleged.
“The senators sanitise (the) Auditor-General’s report(s), lets call a spade a spade,” he added.
“Why is it that the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly has never indicted ministers, their principal secretaries and parastatal chiefs? Why is it that CPAIC is yet to nail anyone?” Duale asked.
Meet and negotiate
The Garissa Town MP claimed that the only thing the committee has done is to sanitise audit reports.
“We know what happened to Governor Wambora and Governor Mutua. I am challenging senator Kajwang to tell us why he has never indicted anyone,” he said.
The lawmaker stated that CPAIC has only tabled positive reports on governors.
Further, Duale insisted that there is a room near the Senate Lounge where the governors scheduled to appear before Senator Moses Kajwang’ (Homa Bay) meet with members of the committee and agree on how to treat the reports before they are formally grilled.
“We are aware that there is a small club where senators and governors meet and negotiate and are given something so that they can be given a clean bill of health,” Nominated Senator David ole Sankok backed Duale’s claims.
MPs Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu) and Tindi Mwale (Butere) supported Duale’s sentiments, saying senators were taking Kenyans for a ride.
The legislators were speaking when they passed the County Revenue Allocation Bill.
They claimed as of yesterday, the 68 senators had spent millions of shillings, comprising Sh50million for the purchase of a new seat for the Senate speaker Ken Lusaka and the purchase of laptops that were to be used by staff members and the senators.
Sankok proposed that in the upcoming referendum, Kenyans should vote to do away with the Senate as it has become “a non-governmental organisation, whose mandate is to go on a spending spree”.
Ichung’wa accused senators of being dishonest, reiterating that instead of supporting devolution, they have killed it by not playing the oversight role they were given by the Constitution.
“We should not allow senators to play with the lives of Kenyans. Senators should stop playing politics with the lives of Kenyans,” he noted.
Mwale advised senators to read the law and understand that budgeting is a role of the National Assembly and not Senate.
But Senate Leader of Minority James Orengo has defended senators against the accusations, saying their counterparts do not understand the role of the Senate as the Upper House.
In a thinly veiled attack at Duale, Orengo said: “I understand someone was attacking the Senate in Nairobi that we are wasting public resources. You know the problem in Kenya is that we have too many ignorant people in the National Assembly and government.”