Senate fines Ngilu over missing documents
A Senate Committee has fined Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu Sh500,000 for late submission of crucial documents aimed at enabling the senate to grill her on Sh21billion expenditure by the county.
Senate County Public Accounts and Investments Committee (CPAIC) told Ngilu, who has, on three occasions, failed to appear before the committee to pay the money from her own pocket and not charge the county government of Kitui as she is the one responsible for the delays.
CPAIC chairperson Otieno Kajwang said the committee would not allow governors to ambush them with documents yet they are supposed to file their responses to audit queries long before the appointed date.
He regretted that actions by Ngilu and the Kitu county government shows she had allegedly planned to do so and avoid being grilled.
Following the decision of the Senate, Ngilu now joins the list of governors including Mike Sonko (Nairobi county) and Salim Mvurya (Kwale County) who have also been fined for snubbing senate sittings.
Said Kajwang: “As a senate (committee), we are going to apply sanctions as spelt out in the powers and privileges act. We are going to fine you Sh500 000 for having appeared but failed to bring documents early enough.”
He added: “The fine should be paid to the Clerk of the National Assembly. Governor, take charge that this is a personal charge to you and not the county government of Kitui.”
But immediately the committee made the ruling, Ngilu protested saying she would be appealing it because she was not given an opportunity to table the letter from the senate duly stamped showing the documents had actually been forwarded to the Clerk early enough.
Ngilu trashed the ruling, saying it was clear that committee’s decision was not only wrong but had already been planned before.
She said according to the rules of natural justice, the committee ought to have given her an opportunity to provide the document as evidence before issuing such sanctions.
“Of course, there are avenues for appealing thus decision. However, it is clear that this decision was already premeditated,” said Ngilu.
Earlier in his ruling, Kajwang also said the committee will not issue an invitation to governor Ngilu but will instead issue summons to her in order to compel her to appear before the committee without fail.
Kajwang said the committee could not be lenient to Ngilu and agree to have a sitting on a Friday, which is not a sitting day only for Ngilu to take advantage of the situation.
“We came here to know how you have spent the Sh21billion part of which has been used by your administration and the other by the previous administration,” he said.
Committee vice chairperson and Meru Senator Mithika Linturi termed the actions by Ngilu as not only contemptuous but an ambush to the Senate which she knew very well was keen on ensuring that residents of Kitui county get justice.
“It is clear that the governor has failed to satisfy this committee that the said documents were submitted to the clerk of the senate,” he said.