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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,13TH MAY 2019- County public accounts and investment Committee of the Senate on Monday directed Migori Governor Okoth Obado to provide documents showing how Sh1.5 billion was spent in the 2017/2018 financial year in the next week.
While appearing before the Committee, the governor who found himself in a difficult place to account for his county’s expenditure blamed the fire which destroyed important financial document which he could have relied on to give the explanation.
“I want to agree with the auditor that we were not able to provide the financial statements showing how that money was used but that does not mean that the money was unlawfully spent. It was during that unfortunate fire incident that those records were destroyed,” The governor said.
Committee members led by Homabay Senator Moses Kajwang’ were however not satisfied with Obado’s explanation saying the documents could have been re-created.
“The response by the governor does not address the issue. It has talked about a taskforce, DCI investigation and mitigation. What you ought to have done is break down Sh1.5 billion that was used during that period. You would have said for example Sh600mn was used to pay salaries; no one would doubt that salaries were paid. Sh800mn went to the assembly – no one would doubt that but all you are talking about are generalities,” said Kajwang’.
“I want to direct that you provide those documents to the Auditor General within seven days and then the auditor will submit them to this committee after they go through them.”
Other committee members also expressed disappointment in the manner governors are handling financial records, saying they are not in touch with their county financial matters.
“Why is it that it has taken you over a year and a half and you still have not re-created those documents? Can’t you call the bank to give you a list of people you pay? Can’t you call your suppliers to give you the receipts?” Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina wondered.
While auditing other county government expenditure, Auditor General Edward Ouko left out Migori County saying , he could not audit the county expenditure because he was not provided with the necessary financial documents needed for auditing.
On the same wave length, Kajwang’ also called on the Council of Governors (CoG) not to interfere with committee proceedings and allow governors to appear before is as scheduled.
“I am glad that Governor Obado appeared before this committee today and I am asking the CoG to do their own job with regards to audit queries without affecting our work by urging governors not to appear before us,” he said.
This comes just a week after the Council of Governors asked the Senate to halt their proceedings after a meeting between the Controller of Budget and officials from the Auditor General’s office concluded that Kiambu and several other counties did not budget, receive or spend monies indicated in audit reports.