Parliament seeks to starve ministries of funds if CSs snub summons

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman John Mbadi. [Michael Mute, Standard]

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) now wants ministries and state corporations headed by officials who fail to appear in Parliament to answer audit queries to be denied funding.

The committee has come up with this recommendation to ensure that Cabinet Secretaries honour summons.

PAC Chairman John Mbadi said it is time for Parliament to be strict to ensure institutions account for the money allocated to them.

"Going forward ministries that ignore PAC's request to appear to account for money allocated to them will be starved of cash. We will make this recommendation to Parliament because we have the support of the law in imposing such sanctions," said the Nominated MP.

This came after the National Treasury Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo's failed to lead the Ministry's team in appearing before the committee to respond to 47 queries raised by the Auditor General from the audited accounts for the Financial Year 2020/2021.

But in a letter to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Dr Kiptoo requested for the meeting to be rescheduled something that did not go down well with committee members who argued that the reasons given by the PS did not hold water.

"Due to exigence of duties I request that the Committee reschedule the Ministry of Treasury appearance before the Committee from February 6 to February 21," the letter tabled by Hon Mbadi before the committee read in part.

But in what could be attempts to end the tradition of snubbing summons, the PAC Chairman said they will not entertain rescheduling of meetings "by witnesses called to appear before the committee because this interferes with PAC's busy schedule."

"If the government ministries are not ready to account for money allocated to them from the public coffers then they do not deserve to get more allocation," he added.

Mbadi said PAC has already prepared a schedule of examining audited accounts of the ministries and state corporations for three months and they will not allow any attempts to slow down the process and urged all those summoned by the committee to appear without failure.

Lugari MP Hon Nabii Nabwera said PAC had reached out to the Treasury and given them ample time to file their response terming the move as disrespect to the committee and its members

"We should change the way things were being handled before. The Committee should be firm on any Ministry or state corporation that fails to appear before it to defend their case on expenditure of public resources," said Nabii.

Kiptoo will be expected to appear before the committee on February 16 and not February 21 as he had requested.

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