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We shall exert more pressure on State, vows Khalwale

BUSIA
By | November 16th 2009

By Martin Mutua and Roselyne Obala

Public Accounts Committee Chairman Bonny Khalwale has said his team will continue to exert more pressure on the Cabinet over expenditure of public funds.

Dr Khalwale said failure to do this would make House committees unsuccessful in their roles as public watchdogs and there would be no need to have them.

"We shall continue to exert more pressure on ministers. Otherwise it will be tantamount to abrogating our mandate and can well be accused of collusion," he added.

Khalwale was reacting to a story carried in The Standard last week where Prime Minister Raila Odinga reportedly told the House Business Committee that civil servants were running scared because of the vigour by parliamentary committees in carrying out audits.

Khalwale said parliamentary committees were answerable to Kenyans and, therefore, would continue carrying out their mandate without fear.

Central Organisation of Trade Unions Secretary-General Francis Atwoli said the organisation was disturbed by reports senior civil servants were running scared because of efforts by the House committees to instil transparency and accountability in Government.

"Such expressions are tantamount to condoning corruption and guarding against dubious and suspect deals that some senior civil servants have been accused of," added Mr Atwoli.

Public interest

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Vice-Chairman Hassan Omar said Parliament has an oversight role to ensure proper expenditure of public funds.

"The House would be wrong if it becomes vindictive. Otherwise it has a role to intervene on matters of public interest," he said.

Khalwale also said Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta was not yet off the hook over the purchase of Volkswagen Passat vehicles. Khalwale noted his committee has summoned Public Works officials to explain the tendering process.

"We recently summoned Uhuru but are not through with him. We are waiting to hear what Public Works officials have to say before we deliberate on the next move," he said.

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