Four governors face Sh500,000 fine for skipping date with Senate Committee

Nadhif Jama

Garissa Governor Nadhif Jama (centre) was to appear before the committee on Tuesday, April 25, but did not show up. 

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Four governors are on the spot for skipping a Senate watchdog committee with senators accusing them of hiding behind religion to avoid accountability.

The governors are now staring at a fine of Sh500,000 each should they fail to prove their case before the committee. 

The four county bosses were to appear before Senate County Public Accounts Committee chaired by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang' to account for billions of taxpayers’ funds allocated to their counties.

They include Garissa Governor Nadhif Jama, Ahmed Abdullahi of Wajir, Marsabit's Muhamed Mohamed Ali and his Mandera counterpart Mohamed Adan Khalif.

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Mandera Governor Mohamed Adan Khalif. 

The four were to appear before the committee between this and next week.

However, the governors separately wrote to the committee seeking deferment of their appearances on account of their religious obligation that comes with the Holy Month of Ramadhan.

Governor Jama was set to appear before the committee on Tuesday, April 25, but did not show up because he is allegedly out of the country. 

Mr Abdullahi, on the other hand, was to appear before the Committee on Thursday April 27, Governor Ali will appear on Tuesday, May 2 while the date for Governor Khalif is May 4.

But in the letters the four county chiefs said they are out of the country in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the annual pilgrimage.

In the letter to the committee, Wajir governor indicated his date of return as April 23. 

The Governor of Mandera said he would return on April 27 while the other two do not indicate when they will return.

However, the committee members went livid after being notified that some of the governors had been spotted in the country. 

Kisii Senator Richard Onyonka notified the committee Governors Ali and Abdullahi had been spotted in a press conference convened by the Council of Governors (CoG) at the Delta House on Monday.

Consequently, the four have been directed to appear before the committee as earlier scheduled or face the risk of sanctions.

“They are claiming to be out of the country but in actual sense they are around,” said Senator Onyonka. "The committee must issue summons to the four to explain themselves so that we can take action.” 

The committee chairperson Senator Kajwang said they will be forced to invoke the Powers and Privileges Act and institute sanctions against the governors should they fail to appear before the committee. 

He said the governors will have to show evidence of foreign travel if they have to avoid sanctions as provided for under the Act.

The Act provides that any person who violates the rules of parliament or any of its committees is a liable to a fine not exceeding Sh500,000.

“Failure by the three to appear the committee will pronounce itself on the matter through the Powers and Privileges Act,” Senator Kajwang said.