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Senate warns defiant governors over summonses

Governors who defy summons to respond to county matters under probe before the Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee will now be arrested and prosecuted in line with the law.

Committee chairman Moses Kajwang said yesterday it is within the team’s mandate to ensure accountability of public resources, adding that defiant governors will not be spared.

“We will continue to invite governors. If they do not appear, we’ll summon them. We will be working with the office of Director of Public Prosecutions, Police and Ethics and the Anti-Corruption Commissions,” he said.

The Homa Bay Senator reiterated that the committee will ensure accountability among all the 47 governors to ensure Kenyans benefit from the funds allocated to the devolved units.

“If you have nothing to hide, why would you not want to appear before Senate? I also want to ensure governors are treated in a dignified manner when they appear before my committee because they are also elected leaders,” he said.

Addressing committee members during a retreat in Mombasa, Kajwang said the committee will expand the scope of its oversight role from just financial audits to include performance audit.

The plan, dubbed Senate mashinani, seeks to confirm accuracy of reports emanating from the counties a move likely to stir rivalry between Senate and the county bosses. “We are taking Senate to mashinani.

We will conduct public hearings as well as joint meetings with County Assemblies budget committees,”said Kajwang. The initiative targets county departments which have in the past been accused of incompetence. Senate mashinani drive, Kajwang said, will ensure the public get value for resources.

The committee will compile its findings on senior county officials as evidence of misappropriation. Last year, the DPP asked the Senate committee to introduce new provisions in the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Bill, 2014 to allow it issue warrants of arrest and fines to uncooperative governors.

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