Senators want governors snubbing summons denied funds

Senators want to move a motion to stop funds from going to Isiolo and other counties whose governors have refused to appear before them for accountability purposes. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Senators intend to move a motion to stop the National Treasury from disbursing funds to counties whose governors have refused to appear before committees to answer audit queries.

The Senate Health Committee has also directed the Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome and the Director of Public Prosecution Renson Ingonga to arrest and prosecute Isiolo Governor Abdi Guyo for contempt and violation of the law.

The committee arrived at the decision after Guyo failed to honour summons to shed light on the status of health and mortuary facilities in the Isiolo county.

The Committee Chairman Jackson Mandago said that they have given the governor several chances to respond to the various issues raised for the last six months and  he has refused to honour summons.

“This committee has no other option but to ask the Inspector General of Police and the Director of Public Prosecution to arrest the Isiolo Governor Abdi Guyo and present him before this committee since he has refused to honour summons to appear before us,” said Mandago

The Uasin Gishu Senator  said that matters raised before the committee are not about Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo but the wellbeing of the people and the governor is required to clarify various issues on performance of the health sector.

Mandago noted that the committee is relying on the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act Section 19 (3) which states that Parliament or its committee may order the arrest of a person who fails to honour several invites and summons to appear before the house.

The same Act in section 19 states that, "where a witness summoned does not appear or appears but fails to satisfy the relevant House of Parliament or committee, the relevant House or Committee may impose upon the witness such fine, not exceeding Sh500,000, having regard to the witness’ condition in life and all the circumstances of the case."

Mandago said that they are also looking into the Leadership and Integrity Act on the conduct of State Officers acting in a manner to demean those offices and asked the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to look into the conduct of such state officers.

“We shall also be looking into the conduct of the Isiolo County Assembly Speaker on his public utterances over the Senate, the legal counsel should ensure that they supply all the necessary evidence to the DPP so that action can be taken immediately,” he said.

Senator Dullo who had sought a statement on the status of the Isiolo County Hospital, recommended that the National Treasury stops disbursing funds to the county as they were allegedly not helping the residents.

Garissa Senator Abdul Haji said that the Senate committee should stop acting as if it was toothless but should instead invoke stringent penalties and deal with the governor to serve as a lesson to other county chiefs who tend to ignore the Senate oversight role.

In response, Governor Guyo said that he will not succumb to intimidation and blackmail by one senator and he was willing to account for expenditure of funds to the people of Isiolo and the relevant agencies that are mandated to oversight his administration.

“My senator knows the right agencies to approach to investigate the operations of the Isiolo county government, it is very disturbing when you see her lying about the operations of her county before the Senate, she should be supporting us deliver to the people,” he said.

The governor explained that his administration had embarked on refurbishment of the morgue.

Guyo said that they have handed the site to the contractor and wondered why the senator has sought so many statements on the floor of the House concerning the county.