Respect court order on county money, governors tell Treasury


Respect court order on county money, governors tell Treasury

 Council Of Governors
The Council Of Governors members led by chairman Wycliffe Oparanya addressing the press on the Ugatuzi Initiative issue on Division of Revenue. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Council of Governors (CoG) has written to the National Treasury, urging it to comply with court orders to release county funds.

In the letter to acting Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani, CoG chair Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) notes that the State’s failure to release the money has rendered counties unable to pay bills and salaries.

“The council notes with concern that the 47 county governments have not received their December 2019 monthly disbursement, which was due on December 15, 2019,” states the letter, dated January 2 and copied to Dr Margaret Nyang’ate Nyakango.

“As a result, county governments are unable to meet their obligations, key among them being payment of eligible pending bills and paying of staff.”

The council’s vice-chair, Mr Mwangi wa Iria (Murang’a), said Treasury’s move was contrary to CS Yatani’s statement on pending bills and will result in a crisis as schools reopen.


“This contradicts the minister’s statement on commitments to settlement of pending bills. We are in a crisis since students will not be taken to school,” the governor told the Nation.

The CoG moved to court on December 10 to challenge Treasury’s decision to block funding for 17 counties, which had not cleared their bills and had not submitted a structured plan for doing so.

It listed the National Treasury, the Controller of Budget and the Attorney-General as respondents

In the petition, the council accuses the respondents of exercising powers they don’t have, adding that withholding the funds contravenes the Constitution, which states when the money should be released.

“According to Article 219 of the Constitution, as read with section 17 (6) of the Public Finance Management Act, the first and second respondents are bound to release the equitable share in a timely manner, and in any event, not later than 15th of every month,” the petition states.

“We are also seeking a declaration that in any event of serious or persistent material breach, the first respondent may not stop the transfer of more than 50 per cent of the funds due to a county, in line with Article 225 (4) of the Constitution.”

On December 13, 2019, High Court Judge Weldon Korir issued an order compelling Treasury and the controller of budget to immediately disburse the equitable revenue share to counties, in line with the laws.

The petition argues that the stoppage of funds to counties was irregular since it was not approved by Parliament as required by law.

Governors also note that there was no substantive controller of budget, whose report was paramount in the decision to approve the process.

They also noted that Treasury’s role is to set policies, not to manage devolved functions.

“The role of the first respondent is to set policies and standards, not to manage the devolved unit. The move by the National Treasury is in total disregard of the law,” the petition states.

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