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Governors skip Senate team sessions on audit queries

POLITICS
By John S Shilitsa | May 12th 2021
Kakamega County Governor Wycliffe Oparanya. He skipped the session on Monday, May 10, 2021. [File, Standard]

Governors from Western skipped the County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC) of the Senate grilling sessions for the second day on Tuesday.

The committee, led by Migori Senator Ochillo Ayacko, are in Kakamega town to interrogate governors Wycliffe Oparanya, Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Sospeter Ojaamong’ (Busia) and Wilber Ottichilo (Vihiga).

They are expected to answer questions over audit queries of their accounts emanating from the Auditor General’s reports for financial years 2018/19 and 2019/2020.

But Oparanya and Khaemba, who were expected to appear before the committee on Monday and yesterday, gave the sittings a wide berth forcing the senators to cancel the exercise at the eleventh hour.

Seats reserved for the governors at the Invest and Grow Sacco Plaza hall were unoccupied by 9.30am yesterday. Later, the committee told journalists that Khaemba skipped the session because some county executive officers from Trans Nzoia had been exposed to coronavirus.

Governor Oparanya had written to the committee, through the Clerk of the Senate, asking the team to defer the meeting with him “until we receive the certificate for the Financial Year ended 30th June 2019.” The letter is dated May 7.

In the letter, Oparanya explains that his administration did not receive a certificate for the Financial Year 2018/2019 and that the county executive has no documents to respond to as regards to the submission of responses and the relevant supporting documentation.

“Once the documents are received, the county Executive will prepare the responses as well as supporting documentation for onward submission to your office and, therefore, a meeting will be arranged by yourselves appropriately,” reads the letter in part.

A section of the committee members appeared to question excuses being given by the governors but The Standard could not independently establish whether the county chiefs were giving excuses to avoid appearing before the committee.

Governor Wangamati is expected to appear before the committee today while Ojaamong will appear on Thursday. Dr Ottichilo will meet the Senate team on Friday.

The committee was also expected to inspect development projects across the five counties before wrapping up its tour of Western.

Ordinarily, the Senate committee would have summoned the governors to appear before it in Nairobi.

But governors have in the past complained of unnecessary expenditures during such summonses.

  

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