Senators renew push for Sh2.7bn oversight kitty
Senators have revived their quest for the Sh2.7 billion county oversight kitty, even as they accused President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration of not supporting their push for the fund.
Since 2013, the senators have made several bids that were shot down by the National Assembly on grounds of violation of the Public Finance Management Act.
However, senators argued that they are not to blame for not holding their governors accountable for the waste of public funds as their oversight roles have not been enhanced through a special kitty.
In their latest push, the senators want President Kenyatta to back the provision of oversight money that always got 'stuck' at his table.
“You have done very well in giving this money to go to the counties, but there is a serious deficit of accountability in the counties,” Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula, who chaired the 12 member committee that brokered the revenue the standoff said on Thursday.
“Enable this House to carry out a better oversight role, over and above carrying out postmortems on expenditure, to go back to the counties and do budget tracking to ensure that whatever budgets are passed by the assemblies, are being spent in the manner they were budgeted for,” he said.
“Otherwise, we will continue as we have always done. We pass budgets, send money and what we are doing this evening is we have created an increased list of billionaires in Kenya,” added Wetangula.
The Senator for Bungoma claimed that “a few governors will dip their hand in the tin and will be sitting all over boasting how rich they are, knowing very well that yesteryears they were nothing”.
He urged the Director of Public Prosecutors (DPP), the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), the Controller of Budget, the Auditor-General, the County Assemblies as the primary audit units and, finally, the Senate Public Accounts Committee (PAC), not be frightened, intimidated or blackmailed by the outburst of Governor Oparanya.
“People who do not want accountability will always look for excuses to escape. Do your work, do not wait to be cheered or praised. Let us make every shilling going to the county worthwhile for our being here.” He appealed to the President.
The Bungoma senator noted that the biggest threat to devolution is some governors.
“There are some who are good, we cannot lump all of them together. Nonetheless, the majority of them are not walking the narrow path. They preach water and drink wine and loathe accountability,” he said.
According to him, the majority of them believe that accountability is an option that they can avoid.
Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika said senators should governors to appear before them and account for funds.
“We cannot be sitting here, burning the midnight oil to get them more money and when we call them here for accountability, they drag their feet,” Kihika said insisting that it should not happen.
Senate Minority Leader James Orengo asked governors to take accountability seriously just as revenue allocation.
“I have CPAIC reports about governors in volumes. Every time they do not get some little money, they run to the Senate, but when we want them for accountability, they say they cannot come,” Orengo noted.