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MPs kill senators' dream of setting up Sh1b fund for county oversight

By Daniel Psirmoi | November 18th 2016

Members of the National Assembly have scuttled a bid by senators to set up a Sh1 billion fund to finance their oversight of counties.

MPs yesterday voted to deny the senators the money after they adopted a report by a House departmental committee that opposed the release of the cash through the Senate Monitoring and Oversight Fund.

In its report, the Delegated Legislation Committee had raised reservations about the creation of the fund on grounds that they did not get proper justification from the Treasury Cabinet Secretary.

During debate on the report on Wednesday, committee chairman William Cheptumo (Baringo North) told his colleagues that all provisions of the Public Finance Management Act were breached in the establishment of the fund.

He however emphasised that there was no malice in the team's decision to stop the money from being released.

"We are satisfied as a committee that the regulations do not comply with the law and are inconsistent with the Constitution. The regulations must be annulled," said Mr Cheptumo, setting the stage for another tug-of-war between MPs and senators.

However, Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem) and Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay County) opposed the report during the debate, arguing that the fund was important as it would help to check errant county bosses.

"We are going to expose ourselves as petty if we adopt this report. We shall also reignite the war between us and senators," warned Mr Midiwo.

"We cannot run away from the fact that we are now in a bicameral Parliament. We have the responsibility of ensuring that the two houses run effectively. We cannot be seen to be fighting in perpetuity with the Senate. At some point, you must say the Senate must be facilitated to do their duty," explained Ms Wanga.

If the report was approved by MPs, each elected senator would have received Sh19.5 million; nominated senators would have got at least Sh3 million in the current financial year.

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