The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly will now hold physical meetings with accounting officers from ministries, departments and agencies after Speaker Justin Muturi gave the green light.
Speaker Muturi had early this month, before the MPs proceeded on a short recess, banned House committees from holding physical meetings with witnesses in a bid to check the spread of Covid-19.
He instead directed that committees hold virtual meetings with witnesses.
However, Mr Muturi Wednesday exempted the PAC from this directive after its chairman Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) argued that the confidentiality of the documents from the government institutions that the committee handles cannot be shared virtually.
According to Mr Wandayi, these voluminous confidential documents cannot be shared through emails as they could be hacked and accessed by strangers.
“The PAC is seeking an exemption from the requirement to hold virtual sittings during the Covid-19 pandemic period,” Mr Wandayi says in his July 28, letter to Speaker Muturi.
“The committee is specifically appealing for your permission to allow for physical meetings with the accounting officers within the framework of social distancing and other public health protocols,” he added.
The Speaker Muturi acceded to the request and directed that the committee be allocated a spacious room to hold its meetings.
The Speaker also directed MPs and parliamentary staff to undergo voluntary testing.
The PAC and the Public Investments Committee (PIC) are financial watchdog committees in the National Assembly that are critical in interrogating expenditures and investments of the national government to ensure prudent utilisation of public funds.