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Nyachae gives verdict on senate summons

20 February 2014, 16:52 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - The Constitution Implementation Commision CIC has said that the summons by senate to county government officials are in line with the law.

They however say that further interpretation by a court of law is imperative to determine the true legal position of the actions by the senate.

CIC chairman Charles Nyachae says that the commission has considered the issues therein in light of the content of the summons, the provisions of the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act all of which are relevant in the circumstances.

He further adds that the senate has based its summons on inter alia the provisions of Article 96(3) of the Constitution, which gives the senate the mandate of exercising oversight over the national revenue allocated to the county governments, which would appear that in the senate's interpretation of its mandate under the Article, it can summon any person to answer 0uestions that enable the senate to exercise oversight over revenue allocated to Counties.

" On the basis of that interpretation of Article 96(3) powers, the senate is not required to only summon the Accounting officer. It is up to the senate to determine which person they believe can provide the information they need and the County government cannot refuse to obey summons from the senate on the basis that the wrong person has been summoned, Nyachae said in a statement.

The senate committee on finance and planning has been accused by governers of blaming them for the purported misuse of funds at county level while they are not liable to the financial prudence of the mini governments.

They thus went to court to stop the summons, of which the high court granted them a reprieve until further interpretation of the law by the courts.

"Since the constitution does not delineate the boundaries of the senate's powers under Article 96(3) and in light of the latent conflict in interpretation that may arise between it and Article 226 our view would be that you see judicial intervention in the matter so that the precise boundaries of the exercise of that power are determined for all time, Nyachae added.

" In view of the above we are of the opinion that until the Court either injuncts the process or gives an interpretation of Article 96(3) that limits the senate's jurisdiction over financial management issues in County governments, any person summoned by the senate would have to appear  before it. Naturally the issues of the precise boundaries of the senate's  powers can be canvassed at the senate hearing and we would hope that an acceptable interpretation can then be adopted to avoid possible conflict of mandates.

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