I want my powers back, Sonko now tells national government

Thursday, April 30th, 2020 00:00 |
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. He now wants to end the deal in which ceded some functions to the national government. Photo/PD/FILE

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

A showdown looms between the leadership of the Nairobi City County and the national government after Governor Mike Sonko declared that he had initiated the process of pulling out of the arrangement where he ceded key functions to the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS).

“Be informed that his Excellency the Governor has initiated the process of pulling out of the arrangement and revert the functions back to the Nairobi City County,” wrote acting County Secretary and Head of County Public Service Justus Kathenge, in response to a letter from the National Treasury.

Treasury had written to Sonko’s administration asking for documents on the key functions including Health Services, Transport, Planning and Development and Public Works.

In documents seen by People Daily, Treasury says that NMS will not be allocated any money in the current financial year since it did not make any request.

But in a letter dated March 28, 2020, the National Treasury details that Sonko’s administration had adamantly refused to provide information on the key functions as provided in the Deed of Transfer to facilitate a smooth handover to the national government.

Auditor’s request

This follows an earlier letter dated March 16, 2020, which Treasury wrote to the governor requesting information on the four functions and ancillary services.

But the matter has hit a deadlock after the governor refused to surrender information requested by auditors.

Though Sonko’s staff submitted information on Health Services and Transport, they excluded critical data on the Finance and Economic Planning department as well as Public Service and Administration.

“After reviewing the information provided to us vide your above referenced letter, it was noted that most of the information requested has not been provided,” Joseph Welimo says on behalf of the National Treasury Internal Auditor General, in a letter dated March 28.

No progress

According to Welimo, a scan of media reports had indicated that the four sectors and the ancillary services handed over their reports to the NMS.

“Please note that it is now almost one month and we are not making any meaningful progress, it is our request once again that the information requested be made available the soonest so that we can make progress in the right direction and for decision making,” the auditor writes.

But in response Sonko, through Kathenge, hits back, saying: “This is to inform you that I am under firm and clear instructions from his Excellency the Governor as Chief Executive Officer of Nairobi City County government not to provide any related information.

“This is due to consistent and persistent breach of the terms of the Deed of Transfer (DOT) of functions.”

Section 162 (3) of the Public Finance Management (National Government) regulations 2015 states that the Internal Auditor shall have unrestricted, direct and prompt access to all records, officials or personnel handling any contractual status and to all the premises and properties of the entity.

“Please note that if the reports are not made by end of business Monday, May 4, 2020, we will proceed to issue the report to the National Treasury and you will have contravened the above section of the law whose penalties can be found in section 197 (K) of the Public Finance Management Act 2012,” the auditor warns Sonko.

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