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Kisumu County Assembly speaker denies approving foreign trip funds, cites bypass by governor

NYANZA
By - RUSHDIE OUDIA | September 2nd 2013

BY RUSHDIE OUDIA

KISUMU; KENYA: Kisumu County Assembly speaker did not approve Sh2.11 million for three officials’ foreign trips, The Standard has learnt.

Speaker Anne Adul said the approval for the leader of majority and minority alongside the Clerk of the Assembly Europe study tour was done by the executive.

Adul claimed she was being ignored by the executive arm of Kisumu County government on decisions affecting the assembly in which she is the accounting officer.

The approval was to enable the three to go for a study tour on devolution in Germany, Holland, Austria and Italy.

Ms Adul quoted Standing Order 232 of the County Assembly that provides only the speaker has the ultimate authority to approve all foreign trips for the assembly members upon giving a written notice concerning the trips.

Aside from that, the speaker said someone from the executive was out to undermine the County Assembly.

She accused the executive of refusing to channel money allocated for the assembly.

Ms Adul said they should be receiving money from the County Revenue Account but this has not materialised to date.

She said Governor Jacktone Ranguma has been frequently by-passing her and meeting the county assembly members, a move she said would derail the oversight role of the Assembly as some members could be compromised.

However, the County Chief of Staff, Kennedy Hongo said the governor only met the members during recess on issues to do with the huge deficits the county budget had, adding that the speaker was on a foreign trip by then.

Hongo said he had to confirm who was behind the approval of the foreign trips, stating he had no idea of the same.

Ms Adul complained to the governor on the way he was handling things after being by-passed during the budget preparations but received no response.

Adul defended the assembly trips to Uganda for members, claiming that they were to capacitate them on issues to deal with devolution since it is a new concept that they are not used to.

“The trips are for capacity building for members and there will be transparency and accountability of funds used in the trips,” said Ms Adul.

Ms Adul said that she only used Sh90,000 and not the proposed Sh694,847 when she attended the National Conference of State Legislature (NCSC) summit in Atlanta, Georgia from August 11 to 15.

“I was only entitled to per diem and therefore I did not use the whole amount,” said Ms Adul.

She said members of the assembly have many challenges with the conspicuous one being the most under paid state officers. Ms Adul said it was challenging for the MCAs to cover wards that now comprise of more than three former wards.

“The MCA’s now have expanded mandates and they cannot work if they are not properly remunerated,” said Ms Adul, adding that, their salaries had been reduced from Sh300, 000 to Sh79,000 by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

The speaker said as the Kisumu County Assembly, they tried their best in preparing a balanced budget despite members not being capacitated adequately to tackle the financial issues involved in the exercises.

“Even the national budget has deficits but so long as you give ways in which you will finance it, therefore there is nothing wrong with it,” said Ms Adul.

She said that the budgets cannot be amended since it will be curing an illegality with another illegality.

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