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High Court bars Khalwale committee from grilling governors

By MOSES NJAGIH and ROSELYNE OBALA | Sep 19th 2014 | 2 min read

NAIROBI, KENYA: The High Court has temporarily stopped the Senate from grilling governors on county government finances in a move likely to re-ignite the war of words between Parliament and the Judiciary.

The Senate, which has been grilling county governments over audit queries raised by the Auditor General, was dealt a blow after the court directed that it stops any further summons of county chiefs.

The Constitution and Human Rights division of the High Court restrained the House from issuing any further summons to the governors until a suit filed by seven petitioners is heard and determined.

Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi granted the orders after the Council of Governors moved to the court to challenge the legality of the summons being issued to their members by the Senate County Public Accounts and Investments Committee.

The committee chaired by Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale appeared to have been caught off guard when they were served with the fresh orders dated yesterday, just as they were about to start grilling representatives of the Wajir government.

The orders were presented to the committee by Wajir secretary Abdirizak Sheikh and the finance county executive, Salah Aden, who represent Governor Ahmed Abdullahi Mohammed.

“The governor was and is still willing to appear before this committee but he could not because he has a court order restraining him from appearing before you,” said Mr Sheikh as he served the committee with the orders.

Committee members Khalwale, Anyang Nyong’o (Kisumu) Muriuki Karue (Nyandarua) and Kennedy Okong’o (Nyamira) said they would respect the orders but warned that the audit queries would not go unaccounted for. “The governor has decided to obey court orders; there is nothing we can do,” said Prof Nyong’o.

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