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Assemblies in a spot as fourth Senate legislative summit kicks off in Kisumu

By Harold Odhiambo | April 13th 2019 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Tough questions await Members of County Assemblies over their performances as some 4,000 delegates convene in Kisumu for the fourth annual Senate Legislative Summit.

The summit comes at a time when fresh reports by the Controller of Budget (COB) as well as that of the Auditor General have placed the MCAs on the spot over wastage.

The pieces of legislation that have been passed by the county assemblies have also faced criticism from the public and activists who claim the laws have amounted to nothing.

The summit will run from today to April 18 and President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to address the delegates.

A report by COB Agnes Odhiambo covering the first six months of the current financial year indicates that majority of the 47 county assemblies increased committee allowances for MCAs by about 157 per cent, with almost going to allowances.

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Expenditure on domestic and foreign travels by the county assemblies also increased significantly within the first six months.

According to Ms Odhiambo, the county assemblies that spent more on foreign travel are Kisii (Sh323 million), Turkana (Sh253 million) and Migori (Sh250 million).

But it is their appetite for more allowances that is likely to be an issue for debate in the summit with the COB also revealing that Kakamega County Assembly paid MCAs more money than the amount set by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

The report mirrors another one by the Auditor General Edward Ouko which revealed how MCAs were pocketing millions of shillings without attending any sittings.

No supporting documents

The revelations, in the report that covers 2017/2018 financial year that ended on June 30, 2018, mirror the rot that has bedeviled the legislative arm of the county governments since their inception in 2013. Mr Ouko poked holes into the financial status of county assemblies with audit establishing that some had questionable pending bills.

The assemblies have also been criticised by other government agencies for paying MCAs allowances that exceeded the Sh80,000 set by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

In Nairobi, the county assembly had pending bills of about Sh31.8 million which did not have supporting documents.

Kisumu MCAs pocketed about Sh87 million in salaries but a huge amount went towards erroneous allowances.

Some of the meetings reportedly took place at the same time which means some of them got paid but were not in attendance. In addition, the Kisumu MCAs were also paid some Sh7 million for committee allowances but the payments did not have supporting documents.

Public resource utilisation is expected to dominate discussions as the County Assemblies Forum (CAF) annual legislative summit starts with a series of activities before the official opening on Monday.

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