Senate Committee summons governor Obado after he skipped crucial sitting

Thursday, May 6th, 2021 16:40 |
Public Accounts and Investments Committee ( PAIC) chairman, Ochilo Ayacko ( seated) consults PAIC member, Prof. Christopher Langat during the committee's sitting at Kisii County Assembly hall yesterday. PHOTO/ROBERT OCHORO

Senate Public Accounts Investment Committee (PAIC) has summoned Migori Governor, Zachary Obado to appear before it on June 4 in Nairobi after he failed to turn up at Kisii County Assembly hall to shed light on audit queries raised by Auditor General, Nancy Gathungu for 2018/19 financial year.

The Committee chairman-cum- Migori Senator, Ochillo Ayacko said the governor will be required to explain why the executive failed to submit responses to the Auditor General and failure to turn up.

Ayacko, accompanied by PAIC members- Prof. Christopher Langat - Bomet County, Prof. Ekal Imana - Turkana, Fatuma Dullo - Isiolo, Jones Mwaruma - Taita Taveta and Mercy Cheben (Nominated) said the governor should be brought under tight security if he fails to honour the summons.

“You have heard the seriousness of the synopsis given by the Auditor General. I am Migori county Senator and I cannot comment because of my position,” Ayako told the sitting at Kisii County hall yesterday.

A letter dated April 26 sent to the senate from the county requested for postponement of the May 6 meeting but the Committee declined saying it had prepared the schedule and logistical costs and directed the governor and his team to turn up.

The PAIC chairman noted the county government had requested to shelve the meeting due to ‘unavoidable’ circumstances, which angered the Committee members who recommended that he be surcharged to meet the cost of sittings, transport and other logistics.

“We need to take steps to control this kind of behavior. The Senate is like the high court of Kenya. This is government’s money spent for us to be here” Imana said.

He said the governor should be ‘man enough’ to explain ‘unavoidable circumstances’ and failing to provide documents required by the Senate, parliament and Auditor General to account for public funds.

Langat said the county government paid ksh1.5 billion legal fees in the financial year under review, which, he noted could have been resolved through alternative conflict resolution mechanisms, stressing it was an abuse of public funds.

“The excuses the county government gave for failing to turn up ‘ does not hold water’. I wonder why the county is overrated even with such abuse” noted Langat.

According to the Auditor General’s opinion, the county had Ksh1.3 billion bank balances which were not reconciled as at June 2019, had ten accounts in central bank of Kenya ( CBK) and 197 in various commercial banks.

“Most of the accounts maintained at the commercial banks were for health facilities. However, monthly reconciliations were not provided with regard to the operations as well as IFIMIS auto generated bank reconciliations to support the bank balances at the end of the year” reads part of the report.

The report indicates the county paid legal fees irregularly to five legal firms in cases involving disputes between the defunct local authorities and the employees of the county executive, which, the reports say could have been resolved through alternative conflict resolution.

According to the report, the county spent ksh1.7 billion, which includes Ksh5.3 million to purchase boats for patrolling activities in the lake area within the county and costs for the construct the Karam slaughter house.

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