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Boinnet clashes with Senate over Governor Mwangi Wa Iria's arrest

By Daniel Psirmoi | December 3rd 2018

The Senate has hit out at Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet (right) for failing to compel a governor to appear before the House.

This is after Mr Boinnet said he was unable to arrest and present Murang'a Governor Mwangi wa Iria to Parliament, after the county chief defied summonses to appear before a Senate watchdog committee.

The Senate Committee on Land, Environment and Natural Resources, which is chaired by Nyandarua Senator Mwangi Githiomi, had written to Boinnet seeking his help to compel Mr Iria to appear before the team and testify over water wrangles in his county.

But on Thursday morning, the Inspector-General wrote back to the committee saying it was difficult to arrest the governor without a warrant from the court.

The tug of war between Iria’s administration and five water companies has seen the World Bank withdraw a Sh130 million loan for the giant Murang’a Water and Sanitation Company (Muwasco).

Trouble started after the governor issued an executive order directing residents not to pay bills to Muwasco.

In mid-October, the Senate issued the summonses after Iria, for the second time in a row, skipped an invitation to testify.

Mr Githiomi took the matter to the floor of the House where he expressed his displeasure with the response and conduct of Boinnet.

“We are demanding that this governor be brought before the committee so that he can answer questions pertaining to the shortage and non-supply of water in Murang’a,” said Githiomi.

He continued: “The IG should be educated on law to know that he does not need any document from the court to arrest the governor."

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said it was wrong for Boinnet to demand a court order before effecting the directive. He noted that under Article 125 of the Constitution, parliamentary committees had powers similar to the High Court.

“As a Senate, we cannot work like that with the IG. We must make it clear that if a committee issues an order for anybody to appear, they do not need a court order for they are a court. This cannot be a negotiation,” said Mr Kilonzo.

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