A Senate watchdog committee planning to question Kajiado Governor Joseph Lenku over audit queries had to adjourn Tuesday after auditors failed to show up.
The Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee had invited the governor and his finance officers to answer to queries raised by Auditor General Edward Ouko for 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 financial years.
However, auditors attached to the county from the Kenya National Audit Office did not show up, forcing committee chairman Moses Kajwang’ to adjourn the meeting.
Akaka Ramoya, a chief liaison officer attached to the powerful committee by the auditor, told the panel he was not aware of the auditors’ whereabouts.
“I don’t have the brief for the director of the hub or other auditors. I have tried to make phone calls but have not found them,” he said.
Governor Joseph Lenku, CS Samuel Seki and Finance CEC Alais Kisota at Senate on Tuesday.
Ouko did not respond to phone calls and a message asking about the officers’ whereabouts.
The revelation sparked a storm in the committee as some members questioned whether the no-show was a conspiracy with the county officials to evade accountability.
“This is so strange. It has never happened before that an accused and the judge can attend a hearing and the prosecution doesn’t,” Kajwang’ said.
Matters got murkier after committee principal clerk Julius Ariwomoi confessed that Kajiado acting county secretary Samuel Seki had told him the auditors would not attend.
Seki denied the assertion, but the members demanded to know how he knew of their planned absence.
Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi questioned if the governor and his office knew about the officers, adding that the fact they could not be reached by phone was a serious concern.
Lenku denied any knowledge of their whereabouts and vehemently denied colluding with them to buy time.
Earlier, the county boss had requested the committee extend him more time to submit its written responses, explaining that his administration received the communication too late to file comprehensive responses.
“I’m not aware of any reason why the auditors are absent. I don’t talk with auditors before I come here,” he said.
Adjourning the meeting, Kajwang’ ordered that the auditors and Lenku appear before the committee on Monday next week. Lenku was expected to respond to audit queries about more than Sh3 billion.