Senate team to probe Sh123 million Homa Bay chicken project

A Senate watchdog has organised a trip to Homa Bay to verify the status of a chicken project even after Governor Cyprian Awiti presented himself for grilling in Nairobi on Wednesday.

The Public Accounts and Investment Committee said its members would visit the county to meet some of the beneficiaries of the Sh123 million project that has raised a number of audit queries.

“We cannot trust governors, neither can we trust the auditors. We are going to inspect the projects ourselves,” said committee chairman Boni Khalwale Thursday.

In Nairobi, Mr Awiti maintained the hatcheries project was on course, adding that vital documents which were missing when the auditor-general perused its books had been presented.

“The documents have since been handed to the auditors and I assure you the hatcheries project is 80 per cent successful,” he said.

Auditor-General Edward Ouko had queried procurement of 306 hatcheries worth Sh123 million that were supposedly distributed to 227 youth groups.

According to the audit report, the county did not have records showing the number of people who had received the hatcheries.

Auditors sent to the county last week confirmed they had received vital documents that were missing when Mr Awiti first appeared before the committee.

The audit report had also revealed the county allocated Sh22 million for the renovation of houses for the governor and his deputy.

Mr Awiti told the committee that the county adhered to tendering procedures using restricted tendering.

“There were no flaws on the procurement procedures adopted. The houses are now complete and occupied,” he said.

The governor was, in the meantime, commuting daily to his office from Kisumu which is 50 kilometres away.

Dr Khalwale commended the governor for honouring summons to the committee. Several governors had previously refused to honour Senate summons to respond to queries on management of funds allocated to them.

The High Court in June ruled that while governors are accountable to the Senate on use of monies allocated to counties, senators cannot order the Controller of Budget to freeze accounts of governors who defy the summons.