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Garissa governor blames Korane for “poor record-keeping” after Senators aborted meeting over unpreparedness

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NAIROBI—A sitting between the County Public Accounts Committee (CPAC) and the Garissa County Executive was aborted on Tuesday due to a delay by the county to submit response on the audit raised by the Office of the Auditor General.

The Committee had scheduled the meeting to interrogate Governor Nathif Jama on the issues raised by the Auditor General,  Nancy Gathungu in the County’s book of accounts for the 2019/20 financial year.

However, the committee was forced to adjourn the meeting after it emerged that the County Executive had not furnished the committee with the responses and supporting annextures as required by the Public Audit Act.

The law requires any entity being audited to furnish the responses on the audit queries to both the committee and the office of the auditor 7 days before such meeting.

“In the absence of the responses and the supporting annextures, this meeting cannot proceed. I therefore adjourn the meeting and we shall give you a date to appear in the next two weeks,” Homa Bay senator Moses Kajwang, who chairs the committee, ruled.

According to the details given to the committee, the governor’s team submitted responses to the committee on May 9, 2023, well within the time provided for in the law. But it is the documents in support of the responses that were submitted hours before the meeting, which was rejected by the committee.

Senators Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo), Samson Cherarkey (Nandi), Edwin Sifuna (Nairobi), Richard Onyonka (Kisii) and Mwenda Gataya (Tharaka Nithi) insisted that the committee will only proceed with interrogation when the governor submits the documents.

“I want to admit that we were late in submitting the documents,” said Governor Jama, blaming the administration of the former governor for poor record keeping.

“We have a major problem with the filing of documents. This is reason why we are fishing out the documents. It is not easy,” added the governor who reclaimed the position from Ali Korane.

“We know that the responses we submitted were not satisfactory. We are in the process of looking for more documents. Allow us more time to fish for the documents,” he said.

He asked the committee to grant him a one month period to avail all the documents that are related to the issues raised by the Auditor General.

“I am [not] escaping responsibility. In fact I am taking full responsibility for whatever is happening but we request more time so that we can organise ourselves,” Nadhif pleaded.

The committee rejected the one month request and instead gave the governor two weeks “to put his house in order and submit the documents.”

Besides, Senator Kajwang directed the governor to submit documenta related to the Human Resource status of the county after it emerged that the governor has suspended over 1,000 employees pending investigations on how they were recruited. The matter is in court, though.

Governor Nathif was also directed to submit practical measures on how he intends to reduce the wage bill from 52 per cent to the 35 per cent which is provided for in the law, the state of pending bills.

[Additional reports by The Parliament]

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