On Thursday, the Senate County Public Accounts and Investments Committee threw out embattled Garissa Governor Ali Korane after he claimed that crucial financial documents required by senators were carried away by floods while others were gutted by a fire.
The Governor told senators that some of the procurement pamphlets containing multibillion contracts signed by his administration were not available as they had been gutted down by fire that hit the county in 2018.
While appearing before the committee, chaired by Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri, the governor who has been charged with embezzling Sh233 million from the World Bank-funded Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP) presented incoherent documents.
“There is no way we are going to get the originals. Even what you have now are just copies,” he said.
After establishing blatant gaps in his audit response to the first issue handled by the panel, the grilling session ended ahead of time.
“In January 2018, there were serious floods which affected some of our documents.
So, what we have here are copies and not originals,” Korane said of the several irregularities procurement of Sh20.38 million for supply and delivery of survey equipment to the department of lands and survey in the county
The auditor had flagged that as per evaluation minutes availed for audit verification, bidders were disqualified on the basis of not providing manufactures warranty certificates statement of catalogue and service manual.
“However, it could not be confirmed whether the same requirements were in the instructions to tenderers since bills of quantities of the bidders were not availed for audit review,” reads the audit report by former Auditor General Edward Ouko.
Further, the audit report cited that local purchase orders and store ledgers were not issued thus it was not possible to confirm items supplied.
However, the committee members could not trace the response in the documents presented to the committee, triggering fierce altercation from members.
“There is no flow of the responses given by the governor. I think we give him another opportunity to be able to explain yourself,” Nandi senator Samson Cherargei said.
Narok’s Ledama ole Kina said, “I am looking at the responses and they are not even making sense. You are not taking our work seriously.”
Reading the mood of the committee, the governor quickly admitted his administration mistakes and apologized for the ‘confusion’.
“It was my assumption that we were going to answer to the questions in the sequence sent to us by the committee,” Korane said.
Senator Ongeri ruled that in the absence of the documentation, with some being ‘faulty’ it would not make sense of them to continue with the siting.
“We can go ahead and make a decision that is prejudicial to yourself. We don’t want you to tell us that we did not give you a fair chance when we produce our report.
We want to give you time so that you come to us when you are prepared,” Ongeri said a ruling the governor agreed with.
The county boss had appeared before the committee to respond to 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 audit queries flagged by former Auditor General Edward Ouko.