Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti on Thursday had a hard time explaining how hundreds of millions of shillings went missing from his administration’s account.
Appearing before the Senate Committee on County Public Accounts and Investment (CPAIC), chaired by his Senator Moses Kajwang, the governor was also put to task to explain why there was a progressive decline in revenue collection.
The CPAIC is made up of Senators: Kajwang’ Moses Otieno (chairperson), Linturi Franklin Mithika (vice-chairperson) and seven other members, including Adan Dullo Fatuma, Kimani Wamatangi Paul, Kibiru Charles Reubenson, Omanga Millicent, Mwinyi Haji Mohamed, Olekina Ledama and Prof. Ongeri Samson Kegengo.
According to records presented to the committee, Homa Bay’s revenue declined from Ksh240 million in the 2014/2015 financial year to Ksh101 million in the 2017/2018 financial year.
In response, the governor faulted tough economic times for the decline in revenue collection.
“I can defend myself on that. The economy is not doing well everywhere, and in Homa Bay, the fish business has gone down; my people are no longer finding markets for their harvest.
“Second, 2017 was an election year, and the Boda Boda guys were very rowdy. I, as a result, could not ask them for money.
“Third, the population in Homa Bay has gone up, and poor people tend to produce more children.
The governor went ahead and accused his employers of failing to honour their duties of paying taxes to the county government.
“Fourth, Nyanza people, especially those from Homa Bay, are nagging. They told me they won’t pay anything in 2018.
I could not force them. Nyanza people are not like Kenyans from other counties,” said the governor.
Besides, Kajwang directed the governor to provide full information on how used millions of shillings that are under investigations within one week.
“I am giving you seven days to explain how you used Ksh188 million on fuel and lubricants in 2017/2018 fiscal year. That translates to 1, 000 per cent increase from the previous year.
“You have also spent Ksh251 million that is not supported by any documents. You will also have to explain that,” said Kajwang.
The grilling exercise, however, ended on light, not with senator Kajwang and the governor trading jokes.
The senator told the governor: “I am hoping that we have not subjected you to any injuries, whatsoever, governor.”
“I came injured. I am now nursing more injuries,” replied Awiti.