Do not block Senate from summoning Governors over Roads maintenance levy, court told

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Senators have urged the high court to dismiss a petition filed by Council of Governors seeking to block the Senate from summoning Governors  over Auditor General’s reports on Roads Maintenance Levy Fund and World Bank funded Kenya Urban Support programme.

Through lawyer Wangechi Thanji, the Senators accused the Governors of demonstrating open contempt for the Senate and its constitutional mandate to consider exercise oversight over national revenue allocated to the county governments. 

The court heard that members of the Council of Governors have failed to appear before the Roads and Transportation Committee despite invitations being extended to them and also failed to honour lawful summons issued by the Senate and are therefore in contempt of lawful orders. 

“The members of the petitioner have failed to appear before the Roads and Transportation Committee despite invitations being extended to them and also failed to honour lawful summons issued by the Senate and are therefore in contempt of lawful orders”, the lawyer submitted. 

The Senate submitted that the substantive petition will not be rendered nugatory if this court declines to grant the conservatory orders sought and the petitioners herein have not established exceptional circumstances to warrant the court to restrain the Senate from carrying out its constitutional functions.

Justice Hedwig Ong’udi blocked the Senate’s bid to summon Governors over Auditor General’s reports on Roads Maintenance Levy Fund and World Bank funded Kenya Urban Support programme, after governors challenged the move.

The council told the court that the conduct of the senate in issuing the summons to the County Governors is unreasonable, malicious and meant to undermine the administration of justice and subvert the constitutional order on oversight.

The court heard that the senate’s oversight role over nationally collected revenue to counties is certainly not identical to county assembly’s oversight and this means senate cannot scrutinize county expenditures in the same way that the committee and general assemblies of the county legislatures can.