Senate queries CoG funding by counties

The Council of Governors (CoG) will be summoned to appear before Senate to explain expenditure of billions of shillings contributed to its kitty by the counties.

Senators want the COG to clarify how it spent Sh2 billion in legal fees in the last five years.

Yesterday, the Public Accounts and Investment Committee directed the council to refund to counties all the money they have been contributing as annual subscription fees.

The committee, chaired by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’, ruled that the disbursement is unconstitutional as the Inter-governmental Relations Act mandates the Treasury to fund CoG operations.

Senators, while interrogating audit queries raised by  Auditor General Edward Ouko on Mombasa County Government’s  financial statements, said most of the money contributed to the council could not be accounted for.

Ouko in his report had queried Sh24.8 million paid to the COG by the county. He said the payments were supported with minutes of resolutions by the council that each county government sets aside Sh20 million to support the secretariat.

“It was not clear why the county funded the Council of Governors, whose budget is funded by the National Treasury. In addition, the expenditure was not provided for in the county government approved budget estimates for the year 2014/15,” said Ouko.

However, Governor Hassan Joho defended the expenditure saying counties had agreed to fund the council as the National Treasury was taking long in releasing its allocations.

“We are, however, not opposed to the Senate stopping counties from contributing to the council,” Joho told the committee.

Kajwang’ maintained that the contributions made by counties to the CoG are irregular, and the funds  should be returned, failure to which the county officer authorising such payments be surcharged.

In his report on the COG, Ouko further questioned a payment of Sh31 million to a lawyer, which was not supported by documents.

Ouko also queried the council’s decision to procure one lawyer to handle various court cases it had against the National government.

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