Group wants Hustler Fund declared illegal

Rose Thunguri a vegetable vendor at the Nyeri Wakulima Market in Nyeri town said the hustler's fund did not give her a loan whose limit is Sh500. [Amos Kiarie, Standard]

A civil society group has gone to court to challenge the constitutionality of the Hustler Fund.

'Operation Linda Ugatuzi' has raised 15 concerns it wants the court to address, including the manner in which the Fund operates, saying it has no established office or entity.

The organisation, through Prof Fred Ogolla, questioned why Kenyans are being asked their PIN numbers and the fact that Parliament has not approved the fund.

The case at the High Court in Milimani will be mentioned on February 15, 2023 after all parties were served last week by lawyers Bernard Okello and Kevin Macharia.

The respondents include Parliamentary Budget Office, Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury and nine others.

"It is hereby ordered that the Petition and Application be served upon all parties by close of business 13.12.22. That responses be filed by 23.1.23. That matter be mentioned for directions on 15.2.23," ordered Justice Mugure Thande.

In the case, Prof Ogolla is also questioning why the Fund had not been established by an Act of Parliament. He says the money being dished out to Kenyans should be contained in the financial budget.

The petitioner says Kenyans need to be protected in receiving funds whose source they should also be told.

He also wants the wants the court to order the Hustler Fund to disclose its operation office, company and list of directors.

He has asked Kenyans not to be under pressure to pay back as the funds lack a legal framework on the repayment term.

During the launch, Kenyans were told they could borrow between Sh500 and Sh50,000 and the loan is repayable in two weeks.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung'u, through a legal notice, made the Public Finance Management (Financial Inclusion Fund) Regulations 2022, which established the Financial Inclusion Fund, popularly known as the Hustler Fund.

But the lobby group insists that the CS had not appointed a chief executive officer under regulation 14(1) or approved the estimates of expenditure and revenue.

Given the enormity of the case and its impact, the ruling will be one to watch in the coming year.

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