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Senate Energy Committee hands Keter Sh500,000 fine for missing appointed session

NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 23 – Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter has been fined Sh500,000 by the Senate Energy Committee after he skipped Thursday’s session where he was to give a status update on the costs of electricity in the country.

Keter who had been summoned by the Committee chaired by Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina was expected to explain measures his ministry had put in place to reduce the cost of electricity for domestic and commercial consumers.

He had been invited to appear before the Committee on September 3, but he also failed to show up on Thursday prompting the issuance of the summons.

“The Committee is taking his absence very unkindly and we cannot allow this to prolong,” Maina said.

The former Kericho Senator relayed his apologies to the committee noting that he was out of the country attending an ongoing International Atomic Agency Summit in Austria.

The message was conveyed by his Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge whom he had dispatched accompanied by

Acting Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) Managing Director Rosemary Oduor.

Senators were incensed by the conduct of Keter with Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina lamenting that Keter had abdicated on his mandate.

“He is a fugitive of accountability who ought to be fined and pay in person. This is not money that should come out of the Ministry. Having been a Senator he knows the rule of law and yet he keeps on violating it. The only way that we can only be able to come to the bottom of this matter is if and only we become more punitive,” he said.

Turkana Senator Professor Malachy Ekal said that Keter’s “continued impunity” should be tamed.

“We need to get tough on this on this stubborn problem between Parliament and Cabinet Secretaries. We have the powers to summon them and even get them to be arrested,” he said.

Laikipia Sentor John Kinyua urged his colleagues to change tact and deploy other strategies that will get government officials to be more accountable in the wake of failed appearances.

“Moving forward we do not need to invite them because this is an exercise in futility,” he said.

The Senate had on Wednesday censured Keter and the Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes after they failed to appear before the Energy Committee to explain the recent surge on fuel prices in the country.

The censure motion was tabled by the House Minority Leader James Orengo who said the duo had failed Kenyans and called for their sacking.

The Senators challenged President Uhuru Kenyatta to act and dismiss the two Cabinet Secretaries with Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior noting that Kenyans’ plight had been disregarded.

“The buck stops at the desk of the President and he needs to act,” Kilonzo noted.

Munyes, according to the Senators, is the most notorious Cabinet Secretary who has been accused of ignoring invites by Parliamentary Committees to shed light on matters pertaining his docket.

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