Kenyan Parliamentary Committees disagree on company probe

Flag map of Kenya19 March 2014, Nairobi – Two Kenyan parliamentary committees have disagreed on who has the mandate to probe the wrangles between the Geothermal Development Corporation board of directors and CEO Silas Simiyu.

Yesterday, Energy Committee chairman Jamleck Kamau demanded direction from Speaker Justin Muturi.

He said the Public Investment Committee chaired by Eldas MP Adan Keynan is also pushing to probe the State Corporation.

Kamau said his departmental committee has mandate to probe the GDC.

He said the PIC is duplicating its work.

The Kigumo MP said Standing Order 216 is clear that a departmental committee has the mandate to investigate and inquire into all matters relating to the assigned ministries and departments as they may deem necessary, and as may be referred to them by the House.

He said departmental committees also have the mandate to study the programme and policy objectives of ministries and departments and the effectiveness of the implementation.

In January, Keynan committee locked horns with the Transport committee chaired by Starehe MP Maina Kamanda over the standard gauge railway probe. Eventually, both committees were allowed to proceed with their work. Though the Kamanda committee concluded its probe and tabled a report, the PIC is yet to conclude its work.

Yesterday, MP Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda) said select committees like PIC and the Public Accounts Committee as per Standing Orders only probe a matter once the issue is passed over to the committee through a motion or through a request by a member on the floor of the House.

He said it is only after such a reference that the committee assumes its mandate to examine public investments.

Gumbo maintained that the first mandate of PIC is to examine reports of public investments tabled in Parliament from the Auditor General’s office. He called for a “clear demarcation” of work of the committees.

Leader of Majority Adan Duale said some chairmen of committees were going overboard. He said the leader of one of the committees recently demanded that he be allocated an office in the office of a Cabinet secretary.

Jakoyo Midiwo (Gem) told the House that some chairs of committees are “rogue” as they were summoning CS based on newspaper stories.

Midiwo added that the “value of investigations” could be the reason why some committee chairmen were pushing to probe certain matters.

Keynan on his part said the Speaker should give a clear guideline on what constitute public investments. Keynan said PIC took over issues of GDC after questions were raised by the Auditor General last year. He maintained his committee sticks to procedures and provisions of the law. “I am a stickler to procedures for heavenly sake,” said Keynan.

He terms as immoral for chairmen of committees to demand for offices at offices of the Cabinet Secretaries.

– The Star
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