A Senate watchdog committee on Thursday sent away Garissa Governor Ali Korane after he claimed floods had destroyed his county’s finance documents.
Korane, who is facing grafted-related charges in court, found himself in trouble after members of the County Public Accounts and Investments Committee established that he submitted incomplete and incoherent documents.
He was before the panel to respond to 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 audit queries flagged by former Auditor General Edward Ouko.
The grilling session ended prematurely after the lawmakers established glaring gaps in his response to the first issue handled by the panel.
“In January 2018, there was (sic) serious floods which affected some of our documents. So, what we have here are copies and not originals,” Korane said.
Ouko flagged several procurement irregularities pertaining to the supply and delivery of survey equipment at a cost of Sh20.38 million for the county’s department of lands and survey.
“According to evaluation minutes availed for audit verification, bidders were disqualified on 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,” audit stated.
Further, local purchase orders and store ledgers were not issued and thus not possible to confirm the items supplied.
The committee could not trace the response in the documents presented to them, triggering fierce reactions from the senators.
“There is no flow of the responses given by the governor. I think we give him another opportunity to be able to explain himself,” Nandi senator Samson Cherargei said.
Narok’s Ledama Olekina said: “I am looking at the responses and they are not making sense. You are not taking our work seriously.”
The governor admitted and apologised 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,” he said.
Committee chair Sam Ongeri (Kisii) ruled that in the absence of the documentation – some ‘faulty’ – it would be difficult to make sense of them however much they tried.
“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 ruled.
It was at this point that Korane revealed that some of the financial documents had been destroyed by floods in 2018.
“There is no way we are going to get the originals. Even what you have now are just copies,” he said.
The committee asked him to reconstruct the documents and certify as true copies of the original and present the same to auditors for review.
Korane has been prosecuted for allegedly misappropriating part of Sh233 million Kenya Urban Support Programme funded by the World Bank.
He and four others are charged with conspiracy to commit an economic crime of fraud and barred from setting foot in his office.