Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho was put to task by the Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee over billions of shillings belonging to the county government.
The county boss was also at pains to explain the hiring of unqualified individuals by his administration.
There was confusion during the session when Mombasa County Treasury head Ayub Buhiri left to bring his academic and professional documents but failed to return.
The team, chaired by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang and which held its meeting in Mombasa Friday afternoon, requested Mr Buhiri to give his Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) number as required by law so as to practice but could not remember it.
Kiambu Senator Paul Wamatangi had raised concern over the financial reports signed by Mr Buhiri without his ICPAK number, terming it unprofessional.
“We would like Governor Ali Hassan Joho to explain why all his financial reports were signed by head of treasury without his professional number,” Mr Wamatangi said.
When the governor failed to give a satisfactory answer, Mr Kajwang asked Mr Buhiri – who was present – to provide the professional number but he failed to do so.
Mr Buhiri instead requested to be given time to dash to his office in order to refer to his documents.
By the time the session was being adjourned three hours later, he had not returned.
The senators asked Mr Joho to give reasons the employee compensation shot up by more than Sh1 billion in the 2017/18 financial year.
The governor said it was as a result of the increased number of Early Childhood Education programmes and the hiring of more health workers “due to additional hospitals which were built to cater for Mombasa County needs”.
“Every development comes with additional costs. We cannot build hospitals and education institutions and leave them without the human resource. That is why the cost of employees’ salaries had to increase significantly,” the county boss said.
Nominated Senator Millicent Omanga demanded an explanation about the Sh733,030,703 on the county generated receipts.
The lawmakers also raised questions about increasing pending bills, which – according to the Auditor General – stand at Sh4 billion.
Mr Joho said his administration inherited most pending bills from the defunct Mombasa Municipal Council.
“There have been cases in which my finance officers were arrested or being made to pay some bills dating back to the pre-devolution days,” he said.
“Our stand is that we only pay what we accrued since taking office.”
He added that some of the bills being quoted as illegal have been rectified after the supporting documents were submitted to the Auditor-General for review and confirmation.
It emerged during the session that the Mombasa County executive has been ignoring summons by the assembly to explain expenditure.
Senator Kajwang told the two arms of the county government to work together when it became clear that the executive submitted reports to the AG but failed to do the same to the assembly.