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Senate Committee adjourns schedule again as it runs on fits and starts in Kisii

NATIONAL
By Stanley Ongwae | May 5th 2021
Nyamira Governor Amos Nyaribo (centre) leaves Karmel Park Hotel in Kisii town after a meeting with Nyamira MCAs, April 26, 2021. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Senate’s Public Investments and Accounts Committee was on fits and starts in South Nyanza for a second day yesterday after it adjourned business for a second time following inadequacies of parties’ subject to it.

On Tuesday, the Committee could not carry out physical inspection of three county projects in Nyamira which were part of the query contained in the Auditor General’s 2018/19 Financial Audit Report after it rained, hampering the activity.

The rains came down immediately after the senators had paid Governor Amos Nyaribo a courtesy call. The visitation that failed was to follow the courtesy call, but the legislators had to jump it and proceed to their hotel in Kisii Town.

Wednesday morning, the Committee could not continue with sittings after it emerged that auditors in charge of the South Nyanza and South Rift regions were not adequately prepared prior to the session following constraints in accessing filed responses to the audit queries that were to be addressed in the meeting.

Governor Nyaribo on his part told the Committee the County Executive could not submit all the required documents to the auditors because of the short notice the Committee had issued.

"We are sorry for the late delivery but this is mainly because we were notified of this session about a week ago," Nyaribo said.

Nyamira Governor Amos Nyaribo addressing the press on February 3, 2021, at his boardroom. [Stanley Ongwae, Standard]

But even with the disclosure by the auditors, it also emerged that even the Senators needed to first do the physical checks of the projects, an activity they skipped on Tuesday because of rains, before sitting down for the grilling session.

There were concerns that the Committee could be facing a time constraint, but the Committee Chair Ochillo Ayacko, who is also Migori Governor, said all the parties will have to adjust to a stringent itinerary on Friday to catch up with all the matters that are of concern to them.

The issue of time was raised by Nominated Senator Fatuma Dullo after the Chairman ruled that the Committee sittings be adjourned until a physical visit is done.

“Time is of great essence here. We cannot come all the way from Nairobi and fail to verify all the issues raised in the queries,” Fatuma said.

The auditors were given a strenuous task to work around the clock and cross-check the responses that had been filed by Nyaribo and his team before they appear again on Friday.

“As has been indicated, the auditors will now go and burn the midnight oil and bring us the required documentation by Friday morning when we shall be sitting,” the Chairman ruled.

“Because they have brought one single file which has few papers, we shall be able to view it, run through it and since we have a vehicle, we can run round before we sit again and work with them so that we be in congruence over the submissions to be filed on Friday,” one of the auditors said.

Committee Chair Migori Senator Ochillo Ayacko at a sitting in Parliament on October 1, 2020. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

On Friday, the Committee will visit the projects first before they return for the questioning session, according to the Chairman.

The PIAC Committee is in South Nyanza until Friday to question three governors on various audit queries raised against them by the AG.

Those who will be grilled are Governors Okoth Obado (Migori), Cyprian Awiti (Homabay) and their Nyamira counterpart Amos Nyaribo.

The same Committee has been having similar sessions with governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakakamega), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia) and Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma).

The Committee sittings are being held in Kakamega for the Western Kenya counties while those for the South Nyanza region are being held at the Kisii County Assembly. 

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