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’

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics - GIDEON KETER @ArapGKeter

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

\RE­BECCA NDUKU /DPPS

Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto and Vi­higa Gov­er­nor Moses Akaranga on ar­rival in Paris, France, for the Kenya-Unesco Week on Mon­day

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