Strong watchdog teams in counties necessary, says Speaker Lusaka

Senate Assembly Speaker Kenneth Lusaka during the State of the Nation address at Parliament on Wednesday 02/05/18. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

The Senate is rooting for all county governments to have strong and functional finance watchdog committees.

Speaker Kenneth Lusaka said having strong public accounts and audit teams is only way that the county administrations across the country, will attain and promote prudent use of the resources allocated to them by the National Government.

“The lack of strong functional Audit Committees and also in some counties is among the reasons why there is wide-spread cases of misappropriation of funds and corruption in the devolved units,” he said.

Mr Lusaka who spoke during a meeting with members Council of the Institute of Chartered Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) who paid him a courtesy call at his office in Parliament buildings, explained that the committees are a key element in governance process.

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 He pointed out that they not only provide independent expert assessments of activities of top county management, but also ensure that the devolved units adhere to the law.

“These committees are critical to ensuring adherence to external audit recommendations and that the quality of the internal audit is above par. Counties should set up these Committees expeditiously,” added the Speaker.

Edwin Makori, the CEO of ICPAK at the meeting announced that in a bid to give back to the society and as well as develop the accountancy  profession in the country,  the institute was will offer capacity building support to the 47 county governments and the senate.

 “As an institute, we are keen to explore options of training Senators who belong to finance related and watchdog committees as well as their secretariat to promote accountability in governance,” said Mr  Makori during the meeting on Wednesday.

In the past few months, Senate watchdog teams have come out strongly and flexed their muscles as they discharge their constitutional mandate.

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For instance, the County Public Accounts and Investment Committee last week in an unprecedented move   slapped Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya with a Sh200,000 fine for failing to honour its summons in May to questions raised by Auditor General Edward Ouko.

After the  Senator Moses Kajwang’(Homa Bay)-led committee issued the order, the  Council of Governors (CoG) cried foul over the fine  imposed on Mvurya, terming it ‘an act of bad faith.’

CoG chairman Josphat Nanok said the Senate had gone against a court decision, arguing that Parliament was also abusing the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act, 2017 by fining a witness who already honoured the summons.


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