The county assembly has announced plans to recover cars and mortgage loans from former ward representatives.
In response to a petition before the High Court, in which he is sued alongside other officials for failure to remit loans to the current ward representatives, Patrick Wafula, who is the County Assembly’s clerk, said he had written demand letters to the former leaders to pay up.
Mr Wafula admitted that the assembly’s loans and mortgages management committee did not have enough funds to loan the current ward representatives the Sh3 million they were each entitled to.
Through lawyer Geoffrey Mulanya, the clerk denied allegations by the petitioners that the money was lost due to unethical conduct, misappropriation or economic crime.
“I’m aware that recovery of the loans from the members of the first assembly is an ongoing process, with most of the MCAs having committed to repaying their respective loans. Demand letters have been sent to the defaulters with involvement of legal providers to facilitate recovery,” said Wafula.
Ward reps went to court last December seeking to have the House leadership compelled to remit the money to their accounts, saying they were in their second year of service but were yet to receive car and mortgage loans.
In suit papers signed by 67 ward reps, Walter Maube (Butsotso South), Josephat Mwasame (Kongoni) and Jackline Mwakha (nominated) told the court they risked serving their entire term without benefiting from the loan sanctioned by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
However, the court was informed that 14 ward representatives had pulled out of the petition.
The ward reps have sued the county clerk, County Speaker Maurice Buluma, his deputy, John Simwa, head of the legal department, Lawrence Were and the assembly’s principal accountant, Pascal Mwanje.
Others are Nephat Mbati (internal auditor), Laban Maloba (head of finance) and Beatrice Ilavonga (principal fiscal analyst).
The petitioners claimed audit reports for three consecutive years (2014 to 2017) had raised queries on how the money meant for their car loans and mortgages was spent and that attempts to debate the reports in the House were unsuccessful, as the Speaker always dismissed them.
They wanted the branch manager at Kakamega’s Family Bank compelled to supply monthly payments for the account operated by the County Assembly for the Car and Mortgage Loan Scheme.
Suffered a setback
In a rejoinder, the clerk told the court the attempts to discuss the audit report suffered a setback after the proceedings were interrupted and that the matter was before Senate’s Public Accounts and Investment Committee.
“In any event, the report of the Auditor General does not present a final position with respect to the issues raised therein.
“It is, therefore, premature for the petitioners to seek intervention of the court to compel the assembly to debate the matter when the same is before a duly formed committee,” argued Wafula.
Justice Jesse Njagi ordered the parties to file written submissions within 14 days.