BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,18TH JULY,2021-National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has faulted the Chief Justice Martha Koome for allegedly barring judicial officers from appearing before oversight committees of Parliament.
Muturi insists that the Judiciary cannot be exempted from the oversight role of parliament.
The Speaker said those summoned by the Public Accounts Committee must appear before it or risk indictment for misappropriation of funds.
“Parliaments the world over have a constitutional to oversight all arms of government. In the performance of its oversight work, any parliament relies heavily on reports that come from the office of auditor general.” Muturi says
A week ago the Chief Justice Martha Koome had criticized the two houses of parliament of what she termed as harassment through frequent summons that were overlapping issued by various committees. The public investment committee and public accounts committee had raised queries over Judiciary’s accounts.
“When performing its mandate, parliament has no option but to go by the rules which is first and foremost don’t condemn anybody unheard. It would be a sad occasion for any auditee to choose not to present themselves before the oldest committees of parliament which is the public accounts committee and the public investments committee,” he said
Muturi terms the CJ’s position as misguided. Muturi says the move by the Chief Justice to stop the chief registrar Anne Amadi from appearing before PAC to explain why it has failed to hire a finance director for seven years could lead to an indictment for misuse of Judiciary’s budgetary allocation.
“If they come from the Judiciary, who should be the best custodians of the principle of nobody should be condemned unheard and if they fail to appear deliberately, then they should not blame parliament in making whatever recommendations parliament may make,” He stressed
“Parliament would be at liberty to among others even withhold funding to any auditee who persistently shows that they don’t want to be accountable for the expenditure of public resources.” He warned.
Muturi spoke on the sidelines of the 80th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association executive meeting where African parliaments resolved to push for legislation to strengthen the association.