Court bars Kirinyaga county from accessing revenue fund

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 00:00 |
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru. Photo/PD/File

Nancy Gitonga and Hillary Mageka

Embattled Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru yesterday scored a double win after the High Court temporarily barred the Kirinyaga County Assembly against authorising any withdrawal of county cash until a case challenging controversial budget estimates is heard and determine.

In his ruling, Justice Weldon Korir temporarily suspended the implementation of the Kirinyaga county budget estimates for the financial year 2020/2021.

The court rendered the verdict the same day Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o sided with the governor terming the decision by the Kirinyaga Ward representatives to dramatically alter the budget as illegal.

 “An interim conservatory order is hereby issued suspending and staying of the Kirinyaga county fiscal strategy paper 2020 as illegally and unilaterally amended and approved by the county Assembly pending hearing and determination of the petition,”  ordered the judge.

 Further, the court issued interim orders preventing the assent and publication of Kirinyaga County Appropriation Bill 2020.

 At the same time, the Controller of Budget was directed not to authorise withdrawal from the County  Revenue Fund based on the illegally approved budget estimates and the Appropriations Bill passed on June 30.

Noto to authorise

Justice Korir also ordered National Treasury not to authorize any withdrawals from the county revenue fund through Ifmis which it operates by virtue of section 12(1) of the Public Finance Management Act 2012.

 In her argument, Waiguru says the budget was passed   illegally. 

The governor has declined to sign the budget after Ward Reps made huge cuts in the estimates, saying the move was aimed at frustrating his development programmes.

According to Waiguru, the county assembly varied the Annual Budget estimates by a wide and unprecedented margin of between  68 per cent and 278 per cent contrary to the 1 percent permitted by law.

And appearing  before the Senate committee on Devolution and Intergovernmental relations on Tuesday via Zoom, Nyakang’o  accused the MCAS violating the law in approving the 2020-21 County budget and Appropriations Bill.

“The law allows the Executive to prepare a budget, which the assembly will pass or decline, but they cannot contravene the law by alliterating it in its entirety, which is illegal,” she said.

On  June 30, the Kirinyaga County Assembly, which had impeached Waiguru but its decision overturned by Senate,  approved the budget estimates with variations going up to 30 per cent which the governor argues was contrary to the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act 2012.

In her refusal to assent to the budget, Waiguru accused the Ward Reps of re-allocating money meant for workers’ salaries and other critical services to construction of ward offices.


According to her, the amendments to the budget would greatly affect the operations of the county government since they included removal of funds for critical services and program in health, agriculture and education among others.

  “After identifying the areas which were not compliant with the law, the assembly went ahead and just prepared theirown budget, so to say.

This one was without any consultation, as we have confirmed, that it [budget] did not come from the CEC finance as is allowed in the PFM Act,” Nyakang’o told the committee chaired by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang.

In particular, the CoB pointed out that the Ward Reps violated  the Procurement Act and the accompanying regulations when they altered the budget by more than one per cent.

“PFM County government regulations 2015 which specifies that where a county assembly approves any changes in the annual estimates, any increase or reduction in the expenditure of the vote shall not exceed one per cent,” she said siding with Governor Waiguru that the MCAs increased the county assembly development vote by Sh631 million without consulting county Finance Executive.

CoB also accused the MCAs of allocating themselves more money. The law provides that the assembly should not get more than seven per cent of the county total revenue.

However, the budget boss warned that the Kirinyaga county government could slide into a cash crunch following the court case.

The Bill was set to come into effect on Thursday after the lapse of the seven-day period provided for in law before the court stopped its implementation.

The CoB and the governor appeared before the Senate Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, a meeting that was snubbed by the ward representatives.

Allocating themselves

The nine- member team is in effort to arbitrate the two warring parties following a petition by the county chief to the Senate to intervene on the budget standoff.

The committee had invited the Assembly Majority leader and the chairperson of the Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee to the meeting.

However, the ward reps said in a letter to the committee that  they would appear on Monday next week. They also sought a physical meeting as opposed to the virtual one.

The governor has accused the ward reps of overhauling her administration’s budget, slashing crucial allocations including those meant for payment of salaries, statutory deductions and pending bills without consultation.

While presenting her case to the committee, the governor accused the MCAs altering the Executive’s budget, a move she insisted was politically instigated to her administration to a halt.

“This budget that was approved by the county assembly was political and done in bad faith, only aimed at grounding the operations of the county government,” Waiguru said.

The governor had submitted that the MCAs had cut the salaries budget by close to Sh400 million, slashed Sh58.6 million meanfor payment of statutory deductions owed to the Kenya Revenue Authority and Sh30 million set aside for payment of pending.

More on News