Senate calls off Mutua grilling over papers
By EDWIN MUTAI
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Session suspended after after Dr Alfred Mutua showed up for the meeting with one voluminous copy of appendices to support expenditure during the 2014/15 financial year. He argued that his officers had sent nine copies of 13 different annexures to the Clerk of the Senate in 2017 to justify audit queries raised by Auditor-General Edward Ouko.
The Senate Thursday suspended a session called to grill Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua over Sh7 billion expenditure after he failed to table necessary documents to clear audit queries. The Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee (CPAIC) took the decision after Dr Mutua showed up for the meeting with one voluminous copy of appendices to support expenditure during the 2014/15 financial year.He argued that his officers had sent nine copies of 13 different annexures to the Clerk of the Senate in 2017 to justify audit queries raised by Auditor-General Edward Ouko. “Our assumption was that we had provided enough copies of our responses and supporting documents to the clerk and to this committee.
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“I only came with my copy since I assumed you had the same documents,” Dr Mutua said, prompting Senator Moses Kajwang to call off the meeting.Mr Kajwang said the committee could not proceed in the absence of relevant documents.“Our summonses through media advertisement were clear. You were supposed to provide copies of supporting documents to your respective regional auditor within 14 days and to this committee seven days before appearance. “This has not been done. I direct that we adjourn the meeting and we shall give you another date,” Mr Kajwang, who chairs the committee, said.Earlier, Dr Mutua had told the senators that Machakos County owes contractors and suppliers Sh889 million which had not been paid over the last three years. “Currently, we owe contractors and suppliers Sh889 million which is as a result of delay in exchequer transfers to counties.“Pending bills continue to accrue because the Treasury has not released all monies to us. “I crossed to this financial year when the Treasury had not released two batches of payments to Machakos,” Dr Mutua said.He told the Senators that part of the reason contractors had not been paid was because of the ongoing audit queries and the need to verify work done. “We have sent some cases of fraud in pending claims to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations. “I cannot spend public money to pay for fraudulent claims or shoddy jobs. I have a committee scrutinising the pending bills,” he said.Dr Mutua said that the county had entered into contracts that should be settled monthly.“Every month I service bills totaling Sh18 million. I am paying any new work once complete. We are dealing with bills (worth Sh889 million) for the first three years of devolution,” Dr Mutua said.Mr Kajwang had pressurised Dr Mutua to explain why suppliers and contractors who completed work four years ago had not been paid when the law stipulates that pending bills should be given top priority.