Ministries and State corporations that fail to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) risk losing funds, Chairperson John Mbadi has warned.
Mbadi said the Committee will ask Parliament to withhold funds meant for such state organs should they continue to ignore their request to appear before it to account for the money given to them.
“Going forward, the committee will ensure that money that is supposed to be disbursed to the ministries and state corporations that fail to appear before the Committee is withheld. We have the support of the law in imposing such sanctions,” said the MP.
Mbadi was responding to the failure of Treasury Principal Secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo to appear before the Committee to respond to 47 queries raised by the Auditor General in the audited accounts for the Financial Year 2020/2021.
Dr. Kiptoo had written to the Clerk of the National Assembly requesting to reschedule his appearance before the Committee due to exigence of duties.
But in response, Members led by the Chair expressed their disappointment after the PS and his team failed to appear, saying the PS did not give sufficient reasons.
“We will not entertain requests for rescheduling of meetings by witnesses called to appear before the Committee because this interferes with PAC’s busy schedule,” said Mbadi.
“If the government ministries are not ready to account for money allocated to them from the Public coffer then they don’t deserve to get more allocation.”
He noted that PAC has a tight schedule for examining audited accounts of the ministries and state bodies for three months and will not allow any attempts to slow down the process.
Lugari MP Nabii Nabwera said PAC had given Treasury adequate time to prepare their response to the audit queries and their failure to appear displayed a lack of respect for the committee and should not be tolerated.
“We should change the way things are done. The committee should be firm on any ministry or state corporation that fails to appear before it to defend their expenditure of public resources,” said Hon Nabii.
The committee directed that Dr. Kiptoo and his team to appear before it on February 16th and not February 21st as he had requested.
The sittings continue tomorrow with the State Department of Economic Planning appearing to respond to 37 queries raised by the Auditor General.