No-show Treasury PS Kiptoo angers Senate committee

Treasury Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo

National Treasury Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo. A Senate watchdog committee wants the PS summoned for failing to appear before it over the controversial draft Privatisation Bill and the current cash crunch in counties.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A Senate watchdog committee wants National Treasury Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo summoned for failing to appear before it over the controversial draft Privatisation Bill and the current cash crunch in counties.

The Senate County Public Investment and Special Funds Committee has asked Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye to immediately issue summons to the PS to appear before it next Friday. 

The committee had invited Dr Kiptoo to shed more light on the government-sponsored Bill, which seeks to bypass Parliament in the sale of parastatals.

The PS was also expected to explain the recurrent delays by the national government in disbursing funds to county governments.

Treasury owes the 47 counties a total of Sh122.1 billion after falling four months behind schedule. Governors say the delays have worsened the situation of pending bills for counties.

Dr Kiptoo failed to show up at the appointed time yesterday and instead sent a letter half an hour later indicating that he had pressing matters in the office. He requested four weeks to appear before the committee.

This angered the members, who accused the PS of taking the committee for granted.


The chairperson, Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi, said Dr Kiptoo’s letter was unacceptable. “We have taken this step because the issues are weighty and affecting our counties, yet the PS, going by the tone of his letter, did not take the matters seriously. We have engaged other officers including bosses of CoB, EACC, DCI, DPP, IGRTC and today it was the turn of the PS,” he said. 

Mr Osotsi said the committee needed clarification on the Privatisation Bill because counties had a stake in some of the entities set for privatisation.

“We cannot allow this to go on. Devolution is not going to work for the people if we don't resolve these issues,” Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Mr William Kisang said. “We are ready to go to any length to ensure people appear before us.”

Mr Osotsi added that the committee also wanted to engage the PS on the delayed disbursement of funds to counties.

“It is now four months since counties received money from the Exchequer. Counties are suffering. Some are even unable to pay salaries, while others are incurring huge interest charges because of overdraft facilities from banks,” he said.

Kiambu Senator Karungo wa Thang’wa said Article 125 of the Constitution gives the committee powers to summon the PS and that the move to summon him would send a message to governors “who are fond of snubbing committee invites”. 

“When cancelling an invite, at least be decent enough to cancel it within the stipulated time. Don't take us for a ride. Have a good reason and give it within the right time so that the committee can plan accordingly,” said the senator. 

Mr Osotsi added that the meeting was to also have the director of IFMIS who was to explain why they have been allowing governors to withdraw funds not approved by the Controller of Budget.

“We want to cure this mischief of diversion of money from the Exchequer by counties paying for things not within the budget. We want to end this corruption,” said Narok Senator Ledama Olekina.