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Kisumu High Court dismisses petition to nullify controversial ward development fund

By Harold Odhiambo | Published Mon, December 12th 2016 at 00:00, Updated December 11th 2016 at 22:52 GMT +3

The High Court in Kisumu has dismissed a petition that sought to have the controversial Ward Development Fund nullified.

Joseph Olero, the petitioner, had sought court orders to nullify the establishment of the fund, which he said was created in violation of the Constitution.

Dismissing the application, Justice David Majanja said the petitioner did not state the specific provisions of the Constitution that had been violated.

Mr Olero had expressed fears that the fund was bound to be misused by the county government and asked the court to issue orders stopping any disbursement of money to the kitty.

In the petition, Olero had also accused Members of the County Assembly of misusing funds released to them from the fund between April 2013 and 2015.

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"We have gathered evidence that 35 MCAs have failed to account for over Sh55.6 million for ward office maintenance," he said.

Olero sought court orders to compel the county government to account for the money released to the MCAs for their ward offices.

He had asked the court to compel the Auditor General to stop the approval of withdrawal of any money from the Ward Development Fund by the MCAs, the clerk of the county assembly as well as the executive member for finance.

In his ruling, Justice Majanja said all the respondents listed in the petition opposed the petition through their advocates.

"They complained that the petition was grounded on hearsay, false allegations, unsubstantiated facts, untruthful statements," read the ruling in part. "The petition refers to the violation of the Constitution in vague and general terms."

The ruling comes at a time when the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations are investigating the alleged loss of Sh280 million from the fund.