Senator Push to Increase Fines for CSs & Governors to Ksh 5M for Snubbing Summons

President William Ruto chairing a Cabinet meeting at the new Presidential dais at State House on January 15, 2024.
President William Ruto chairing a Cabinet meeting at the new Presidential dais at State House on January 15, 2024.

Senators have initiated plans to increase fines for cabinet secretaries and governors who fail to appear before committees of Parliament.

While debating the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which is sponsored by Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi, the senators proposed to have the current Ksh500,000 fine increased to Ksh5 million.

In particular, the Leader of the Majority in the Senate, Aaron Cheruiyot, opined that the current fine was too little for the public servants who habitually fail to appear before committees tasked with investigating various matters of national concern.

He noted that some public servants had shown contempt for Parliament on numerous occasions, hence the need to enforce more stringent penalties.

Senate Majority Leader, Aaron Cheruiyot.
Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot speaking at an event in Kericho County in January 2024.
Aaron Cheruiyot

On the other hand, he called on his colleagues to come up with more strategies that would ensure that the fines are paid promptly. He cited instances where courts seized the property of individuals who failed to pay their fines.

"Ksh500,000 for someone who has snubbed summons of Parliament is a slap on the wrist. The people who snub parliamentary summons are arrogant and rich.

"We need to provide mechanisms for recovering this money. I know that there are public officers we fined for non-appearance and they have not paid it until this date," he stated.

On his part, Taita Taveta Senator Johnes Mwaruma also indicated that stiffer fines would enhance commitment to summons revealing that the public servants often pay the Ksh500,000 minutes after being fined.

"That fine is too little. You will find that some of them pay the fines using mobile money," the Senator opined.

Notably, the Bill proposed by Senator Osotsi also outlines procedures that will see the public servants pursued and apprehended in the event they fail to honour summons.

The bill provides for the Clerk of Parliament to coordinate with the Inspector General of Police to have the public servant being sought after presented before a committee after being apprehended.

"A person arrested under subsection (3) shall be held at such a place as specified in the National Police Service Act or as shall be designated by the Clerk for purposes of holding such persons, and (b) be produced before a court, or the House or committee that summoned that person on the next working day,' read the proposals in part.

A file image of the Chairperson Council of Governors, Anne Waiguru speaking during an address in Mombasa
Chairperson of the Council of Governors Anne Waiguru speaking during an address in Mombasa in September 2023.
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