Court stops release of Sh2 billion to Wajir County over leadership wrangles

NORTH EASTERN |
Wajir County Governor Ahmed Ali Muktar (centre) accompanied by Wajir county MPS, MCAs, during a press conference where the leaders accused impeached Former Governor, Mohamed Abdi Mohamed [Samson Wire, Standard]

The supremacy battle between the Wajir Governor Ahmed Ali Muktar and the ousted county boss Mohamed Abdi Mohamud has paralysed the functions of the county.

The High Court has stopped the Controller of Budget (CoB) from releasing Sh2 billion to clear pending bills in Wajir county.

On Monday, High Court Judge Anthony Mrima Mrima issued the interim order barring CoB from releasing the funds owed to contractors and suppliers.

Justice Mrima's orders were informed by the fact that Muktar and Mohamud were both in office after the impeached governor was allegedly reinstated by the courts.

Muktar was sworn in, in May after Senate approved the impeachment of Mohamud by the county assembly over gross violation of the Constitution.

When Muktar took office, the ousted governor obtained court orders staying the impeachment proceedings until a case filed at the High Court in Meru challenging his removal was heard and determined.

Days after impeachment, Mohamud said for the fourth time the High Court had issued an order that gave him powers to be in the office until the petition is heard and determined.

The three-judge bench had noted that on May 18, those orders had been issued and were confirmed to be in force on 24 May and they reconfirmed the same.

"The import of that order is that the entire finding and resolution process at the Senate removing me was rendered ineffective, inapplicable and non-operational, as such anything done pursuant to the resolution of Senate including the swearing of Wajir and any function thereafter in null and void and a contempt of court.," Mohamud said.

The ousted governor argued that disobeying the court orders will lead to anarchy and lawlessness.

Immediately he took office, Mukhtar assented to the county supplementary budget which had been passed by the assembly.

However, his newly appointed officials to the county treasury were not given rights to carry out transactions at the National Treasury and the Central Bank due to the complexity on the interpretation of an existing court order that barred him from transacting business as the governor for Wajir.

Last week, the new governor witnessed the swearing-in of Deputy Governor, Hashim Musa Yussuf that was done by Garissa High Court Judge Abida Ali-Aroni at the county offices.

Justice Mrima said the interim orders were meant to balance the interests of the county government and declined to stop the execution of the budgetary estimates for development projects as urged by the petitioners.

The judge explained that it will be imprudent for him to stop the entire development budget for 2021/22 financial year given that it would have adverse effects on operations of the county government.

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