Senate team writes to DPP, wants Vihiga governor held
‘Last week, we received a letter indicating he had declined to appear before the committee on reasons, which the team found unacceptable’
A Senate committee yesterday resolved to write to Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko to order the arrest of Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga for ignoring summons.
The governor was expected to be grilled by the committee on Finance, Commerce and Budget, which was temporarily chaired by Migori Senator Wilfred Machage, over a petition filed by 12 residents.
Machage told the committee attended by Senators Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho), Catherine Mukite (nominated), Paul Njoroge (nominated) and Beatrice Elachi (nominated) that they had issued a summons for Akaranga to appear before it last week but he failed.
The committee gave him another chance. “Last week, we received a letter indicating he had declined to the summons to appear before the com- mittee on reasons, which the committee found unacceptable. He [governor] leaves us with no option but to follow the constitution,” Machage ruled.
“The committee has no option but to seek the assistance of the DPP and it is now ordered that the Senate Clerk writes to DPP for directions.”
The Constitution gives either House of Parliament and any of its committees the same powers as the High Court to summon county officials, who decline to appear before them to respond to any issue under investigations.
The Constitution also empowers House teams to enforce the attendance of witnesses or compel the production of documents required to comprehensively investigate an issue.
Akaranga is reported to have written to the committee, through his lawyer Peter Wanyama, saying he will not appear before it, as the issues raised in the petition had been dealt with and resolved by the Vihiga county assembly.
The petitioners have raised a number of issues, which they want the Senate to investigate.
They want the Senate to probe among others, how Sh1.6 billion received from the exchequer for development in 2014-15 was spent.
The petitioners also want the committee, chaired by Mandera Senator Billow Kerrow, to investigate how money appropriated for the Vihiga County Empowerment Fund was utilised and why the county government incurred an accumulative pending bills of more than Sh2.1 billion.
The petitioners want the committee to ask the Auditor General, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Director of Criminal Investigation to carry out a joint forensic audit of the financial operations of the county.
Apart from calling for prosecutions of those found to have violated the law, they also want taxpayers money and assets of those who may have unlawfully benefited from the alleged stolen funds to be frozen.
THE GOVERNOR WAS TO BE GRILLED OVER A PETITION FILED BY 12 RESIDENTS
Deputy President William Ruto and Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga on arrival in Paris, France, for the Kenya-Unesco Week on Monday