Counties cash donation to CoG illegal, says senators

Row looms as Senate committee demands reimbursement of contributions made to governors’ body

Supremacy wars between senators and governors have been renewed after the former directed county governments to stop remitting funds to Council of Governors (CoG).

Senate County Public Accounts and Investments Committee also wants all the funds counties have been remitting to CoG reimbursed, claiming it was done illegally.

Committee members, led by chairperson Moses Kajwang’, said they will ensure county officials, who sanctioned the transactions, are surcharged if the cash is not reimbursed.

“The contribution paid is illegal and the Council of Governors should refund the money so far paid,” said Kajwang’, who is also Homa Bay senator.

Each of the 47 counties contributes cash to the council to facilitate its operations. For instance, in the 2014/15 financial year, each county contributed Sh2 million in annual subscription and Sh1.7 million to facilitate devolution conference.

The debate came up when Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga appeared before the committee to answer to audit queries dating back to 2014/15 financial year.

“We will be recommending that the amount sent to CoG is recovered failure to which we will surcharge officers involved in this,” said Kajwang’.

He said funding the CoG and other independent institutions is an obligation of the National government.

“The National government must honor its obligations as required by law and where it fails we must be careful with shortcuts,” he added.

Not eligible

 Auditor General Edward Ouko, in his 2016 report, said the Sh3.7 million that Siaya county paid to CoG in the fiscal year under review was illegal and should be reimbursed.

The auditor said the expenditure of the council, created under Section 17 of the Inter-government Relations Act, 2012, is provided for under the National government’s budget, thus it is not eligible to receive the money from devolved units.

Rasanga confirmed the county contributed Sh3.7 million out of which Sh1.7 million was to facilitate for the devolution conference in April and Sh2 million was for council operations. He said the council depends on counties contributions.

 Last year, the Senate committee in a damning report, recommended that 10 governors be prosecuted for violating the law by making payments to CoG.

Meanwhile, Rasanga was at pains to explain the variance in the county’s financial books in the year under review.

He, however, explained the books of account were not updated then.

 “Indeed, we had untimely updates in our books which we have corrected and all our records are up to date.  We now have employed four chief accountants and four other senior ones,” he said.

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