Senate team summons governors over alleged misuse of coronavirus cash
Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka
A parliamentary committee has summoned all the 47 governors and their executives to appear before it, to shed light on how they spent billions of public resources sent to counties to combat Covid-19 pandemic in the 2019/2020 Financial Year.
Senate Health Committee will investigate how the devolved units consumed the monies, bulk of it donations from the national government and other donors.
The move follows an in depth analysis by the committee on Auditor-General’s Special Audit Report on the utilisation of Covid-19 funds, by the devolved units. In the report, Auditor General Nancy Gathungu cited violations and recommended to the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe at least 27 counties.
They include Embu, Homa Bay, Murang’a, Busia, Kakamega, Meru, Bomet, Kisii, Bungoma, Nairobi, Trans Nzoia and Lamu.
The report reveals that the counties flouted procurement laws, awarded tenders to select firms and made questionable payment where billions of shillings of taxpayer’s money may have been lost.
“In this regard, it is recommended that the EACC and the DCI, conduct further investigations to establish acts of criminality in inventory management of the Covid-19 related items,” the report reads in part.
Trans-Nzoia Senator Michael Mbito, who chairs the committee while tabling a report of the Auditor General on the utilisation of Covid-19 funds by county governments, said his panel has summoned a number of governors to explain the illegalities and irregularities flagged by the auditor in her report.
“I wish to inform the House that the committee is seized of the special Audit report of the Auditor General on the utilisation of Covid-19 funds by the county governments and is set to commence hearings with various county government,” Mbito said.
“The committee is scheduled to hold hearings with the 47 County governments in the coming weeks.
The hearings will be held for purposes of seeking clarifications from the counties on the findings of the Special Audit Report, and establishing the level of pandemic preparedness and response across the counties,” he added.
According to him, his committee intends to hold hearings with two counties per day, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.