Why senators want MCAs stripp*d of oversight role

Tuesday, April 16th, 2024 04:04 | By
Senate County Public Accounts Committee chairman Moses Kajwang. PHOTO/Kenna Claude
Senate County Public Accounts Committee chairman Moses Kajwang. PHOTO/Kenna Claude

A Senate committee is proposing to strip Ward representatives of absolute oversight mandate on some funds spent by the County Executive.

The Senate County Public Accounts Committee (CPAC) has proposed to deny the Members of the County Assemblies (MCAs) powers to oversight the County Executive and the Assembly. In the proposal that could trigger uproar among the MCAs, the committee suggests to limit the oversight mandate of the ward reps.

Committee chair Moses Kajwang’ (Homa Bay) said the MCAs should oversight funds created by legislations passed by the county assembly.

Any funds established by a national legislation should be oversighted by the Senate, Kajwang’ proposed.
“We need to have a conversation around oversight. Oversight of the County Assemblies should be an exclusive mandate of the Senate,” said Kajwang’.

Denied financial documents

During the meeting held at KICC last Thursday, Assembly PAC members lamented about being denied financial documents with their attempts to summon the clerk falling in deaf ears.

Kajwang’ made the remarks during a meeting with the leadership of the Nairobi City County Assembly where the members of the Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee poured out their frustrations in oversighting the Assembly’s leadership.

“Oversight of financial statements arising out of regulation of the County Assembly should be done by the county assembly, exclusively,” Kajwang said.

According to Kajwang’, Liquor fund regulations, bursaries and all those funds established by regulations of the country assembly should be oversighted by the Ward representatives.

“The Senate does not have to come in oversighting the regulations passed by the Assembly. The Senate should have absolute mandate to scrutinize the usage of funds established by a national legislation,” charged Kajwang’.

They include County Revenue Fund and the County Emergency Fund, which are established by the national law.

“It will bring about some neatness. Let us clear these things so that we can have a conversation on how to restructure oversight. But you will not be able to oversight the executive if this is the state of affairs because you need certain skills to look at the books of the executive,” he added.

The Clerk is the chief accounting officer of the County Assembly. The officer is mandated to explain financial expenditures before the Public Accounts Committee of the County Assembly.

In Parliament, Senate Clerk, who’s the Chief Executive Officer of the Parliamentary Service Commission, appears before the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly to respond to audit queries.
“When we issue summons to the clerk, he is supposed to sign the same summons. He does not do that. He ends up not appearing,” Kileleshwa MCA Robert Alai said.

The City Assembly has had damning audit reports, with Auditor General Nancy Gathungu rendering adverse opinion in the last four financial years.

An adverse opinion implies that the county assembly’s financial statements are distorted, misstated and do not accurately reflect its financial performance and health.

Currently, the MCAs are the primary oversight of the Assembly and the Executive. They scrutinize the financial books of all funds received and spent by the two arms of a county government. The Senate, through its watchdog committee – CPAC and SCPISFC (Senate County Public

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