Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony suffered a blow after the county assembly refused to approve a Sh83 million budget meant to advance a case against the British government over colonial injustices.
This, the members said, was due to failure by the governor to account for Sh99 million earlier allocated to the case which is yet to be filed in London three years later.
While unanimously passing the Sh7.184 billion budget for the financial year 2018/19, the legislators also failed to approve Sh103 million for the construction of an eye centre and instead directed the funds towards cancer treatment.
The chairman of the Budget and Appropriation Committee Albert Kipkoech said they followed the law in executing their mandate.
“We ensured that all the projects that are enlisted in the County Integrated Development Plan and County Fiscal Strategy Paper get an allocation. Some of those rejected were introduced in the budget estimates and not captured in the two documents,” he said.
Also shot down is additional budget for the controversial upgrade of Kerenga airstrip which already got Sh100 million despite opposition. MCAs argued the national government will upgrade it.
Concerning the case in which Prof Chepkwony is seeking Sh2 trillion compensation from the British government, Kapsoit MCA Paul Chirchir argued that the governor has been taking elderly victims for a ride and was only using them for political mileage.
“The governor is asking for Sh83 million and subsequent annual allocation of Sh30 million supposedly until the case is concluded whereas he has not accounted for the initial money? We will not be a party to his plundering of public resources,” said Mr Chirchir.
The Kerenga project and the British law suit have already been brought to the attention of the Ethics and Anticorruption Commission by Belgut legislator Nelson Koech.
“I invite EACC to come to Kericho and look into the plunder of resources in the disguise of a case by Kericho County in search for justice for the ills meted on the locals by the British government in the 1900s,” said Mr Koech.
He further claimed that the company awarded the tender to construct Kerenga airstrip used fake documents and that it is a proxy firm to a chief executive committee member, who according to law, should not seek any contracts.
The biggest beneficiaries in the budget are the roads department, allocated Sh651 million, and health department which received Sh380 million towards construction of new dispensaries and upgrading of existing ones to health centres and sub-county hospitals. Sh36 million was also set aside to enroll the less fortunate people in the National Hospital Insurance Fund.
Majority leader Hezron Ng’etich said they also put aside money for strategic intervention (equalisation fund), to boost developments in marginalised regions.
“We have set aside Sh265 million to be distributed for projects that spur development. Kipkelion West for instance got Sh14 million and Soin-Sigowet Sh50 million, among others,” he said.
Sh147 million was set aside for education to construct and equip 150 early childhood development centres, while water and sewerage received Sh214 million.
Happy to have a kitty for the first time are women who were allocated Sh6 million to run a programme that ensures that conditions at the maternity and paediatric sections of hospitals and health centres in the county operate optimally.
Out of the Sh7.184 billion docket, allocation from the national government is Sh5.7 billion. The rest comes from local revenue collection and donor funding.