The recent change of parliamentary rules to permit virtual sittings has given fresh impetus to the search for Kenya’s next Auditor-General after nine months of waiting.
Mr Abdulswamad Nassir, who chairs the Public Investments Committee (PIC), however, said it was up to the Speaker to come up with the finer details to guide virtual meetings involving three committees handling the pending appointment.
Just before the Covid-19 outbreak, the PIC, together with the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Special Funds Accounts Committee had commenced investigations into the delay.
The team had questioned the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Treasury secretary Ukur Yatani and the then head of a selection panel on the recruitment of new Auditor-General, Sammy Onyango, but have not been able to meet again to compile the report. Parliament has since changed its Standing Orders to allow virtual plenary and committee sittings.
“We wanted to meet again next week, and I am talking to the chairmen of the other two committees. But if no meeting takes place, we’ll wait until the one-month recess is over,” Mr Nassir told the Business Daily by phone.
“I am already looking for the Speaker’s guidance because this is a joint meeting of three committees, and as you know there exist rules from the Speaker on the quorum of meetings.
Alternatively, we can also table a preliminary report on the progress of appointment of Auditor General based on our where we left our discussions.”
Last month, President Uhuru Kenyatta threw the spanner in the works when he opted to appoint Mr Mutua Kilaka as chairman of the selection panel for recruitment of an Auditor-General.
At the time, Mr Onyango’s team — in anticipation of its term extension — had already re-advertised for the position after a protracted legal suit. It is not yet known whether Mr Mutua’s team will continue with Mr Onyang’o work or opt to re-advertise the position once again.
Due to public health social distancing rules, Parliament has lately been holding sittings on Wednesdays with only 53 MPs of the 349 lawmakers allowed to sit in the debating chamber at any one given time.