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Governors risk jail for defying summons

Governors risk going to jail if they disobey summons to appear before Senate committees.

The Senate Public Accounts Committee (PAC) told the 29 governors it had summoned that they would be the first casualties of the Public Audit law, which prescribes a three-year jail term or a fine of Sh5 million or both, for non-compliance.

The warning came after the Council of Governors asked those summoned to snub the committees in protest of the recent public brawl between Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Senator Mike Sonko.

PAC Chairman Anyang’ Nyong’o said governors who choose to ignore the committee risk prosecution. He said all the 47 counties had audit queries. Only 18 county chiefs have appeared before the team.

RESPECT AND DECORUM

The stand-off between the lawmakers and the county chiefs follows the resolve by the council to ignore the invites until they are assured of being handled with respect and decorum.

CoG Chairman Peter Munya (Meru) said he had written to Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro to register their displeasure over the tiff between Governor Kidero and Senator Sonko during an inquiry by PAC.

Mr Munya also took issue with Prof Nyong’o’s insistence on chairing the grilling session of his Governor Jack Ranguma, despite declaring interest in the gubernatorial seat come 2017.

But Mr Ethuro said he was yet to receive any protest letter from the governors on the matters raised and was only in receipt of Dr Kidero correspondence against Senator Sonko.

“I am yet to receive the letter from CoG but this is a straight forward matter. If governors say they want assurance from my office that there will be decorum, I can guarantee them that. It is a requirement that the conduct of members, as well as their witnesses, must be dignified, and that applies to all parties,” said the Speaker.

Ethuro said he had committed the Kidero-Sonko confrontation to the Powers and Privileges committee for consideration.

“It is also good to remind senators that this should not be an excuse for them not to perform their constitutional duty of oversight. These things do happen, they happen everywhere, in both the county assemblies and committees of National Assembly,” he stated.

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He added: “We are not condoning what happened but it’s not uniquely senate. We should not pretend or use them as an excuse.”

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