Senate committee puts Tolgos on the spot over shoddy report

A Senate committee was forced to adjourn a meeting prematurely and send a witness to go prepare well to respond to audit queries.

The Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee sent away Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos with a latitude to put his house in order. 

The lawmakers also told Tolgos (pictured) to ensure he takes administrative action against his staff who they said let him down in preparing to appear before the committee.

The Sam Ongeri-led committee, however, gave the governor a chance to re-appear before it and warned that he should comply with the Public Audit Act.

“I would have applied sanctions. However, the provision of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act does not apply in this case. You provided the documents but there was no sufficient time to peruse them. What we expect to see is the administrative action taken against the officials who have let you down,” said Prof Ongeri.

Senators Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Irungu Kangata (Muranga) and Johnes Mwaruma (Taita Taveta) were categorical that the governor's team had let him down.

“You need to put your house in order. Some of the annexures you were referring to were missing. When next you come back here, you should tell us the administrative action you took against your officers because they are being paid by the county. You have been given enough latitude,” said Cherargei.

“You must take a severe penalty that includes levying a fine to the governor. There was an exit meeting. You knew all the steps and you knew you were going to come and respond. The executive is not prepared. You must take this committee’s work seriously,” said Kangata.

Tolgos promised to take administrative action against his staff who did not submit relevant documents to the auditors in time.

Late submissions

“I want to promise that I will take administrative action. Next time we are invited, we will have all the documentation. We will have a discussion with the auditors and submit the documents on time. We want to apologise for the late submission of the documents. Next time, we will put all the documentation in order,” said Tolgos.

Earlier on before Tolgo’s was sent away, the committee had taken the governor to task over a variation in the financial statement on the county’s fixed asset.

The Auditor General in his last report had fingered the county administration for a variance in the financial statement for the year under review.

Fixed assets

Former Auditor General Edward Ouko, in his 2017-18 financial year, showed that the fixed asset register availed for audit review indicated total assets of Sh482,177,939 which is at variance with the total fixed asset register of Sh1,549,264,091, resulting to an unreconciled or unexplained difference of Sh1,067,086,152.

“Under the circumstances, the validity, accuracy, and completeness of the summary of the fixed assets register figures for additions for the year and total balance as of June 30, 2018, could not be confirmed,” reads part of the report.