Man wants court to declare new county budget unlawful

Man wants court to declare new county budget unlawful. [Photo: Courtesy]
A resident has moved to court seeking to have the county’s 2019/2020 budgeting process declared unlawful and unconstitutional.

Wilfred Kihara Kisang moved to the High Court in Eldoret, under a Certificate of Urgency, arguing the budget-making process was unprocedural and was influenced by selfish interests by both the County Assembly and the Executive.

In the petition filed on Tuesday, Mr Kisang wants the court to order the whole process to begin afresh. 

The petition follows a stalemate sparked by failure by the assembly to allocate the executive Sh110 million for staff perks and an additional Sh89 million for recruiting staff to replace those who have left the service through natural attrition.

Listed as respondents in the case are the county governor, the county finance executive, the county government, assembly speaker, the clerk of the assembly, the county assembly, Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), the Controller of Budget and the Attorney General.

“We are seeking an order that the county begins the budget process afresh in full compliance of the Constitution and the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act of 2012,” Mr Kisang said in his petition.

According the petitioner, Finance Executive Isaac Kamar made provisions for staff medical scheme as well as salaries for staff for county workers but the assembly, without clear reasons, declined to include it in the budget.

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He told the court that there was a reduction of Sh70 million on the salaries vote by the county Assembly during the approval, meaning the county would not be paying some salaries for existing staff.

“The provision of Sh89,887,104 meant to enable the county to replace vacant positions occasioned by staff exits, retirement and natural attrition was declined. This meant that no replacement will be done despite some of the positions being critical such as those for nurses, roads and public works engineers, livestock officers, agricultural officers and ward administrators,” the petitioner said.

The 2019 County Appropriations Bill became law automatically after governor Alex Tolgos declined to assent to it, citing failure to include the staff perks.

“The PFM Act does not make provision for Appropriation Bill to automatically become law, but instead provides for a vote on account, which option has not been triggered by the speaker as required by law,” the petition states.

He said the assembly’s action to gazette the rejected Appropriation Act was motivated by malice.

According to Kisang, the budget is not compliant with the legal requirements of balance and did not take into account the county’s expenditure priorities, adding that it may fail to help the county in realisation of desired policy outcomes.

He continued: “The assembly violated the Constitution by hijacking the budget-making process for the year 2019-20 in the enactment of the County Appropriation Act.”

Kisang further wants an order issued that the Controller of Budget releases half of the amount included in the budget estimates submitted to the County Assembly on June 30 pending the passing of a new Appropriation Bill. 

The petition also wants the two arms of county government ordered to begin the budget-making process afresh in compliance with the law.

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