Blow for Waititu as court blocks Kiambu's Sh16.5bn budget

Friday April 5 2019

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu

A file photo of Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu on Friday suffered a blow as the High Court suspended a Sh16.5 billion supplementary budget passed by the assembly in March.

Justice James Makau suspended the implementation of the budget pending the determination of a petition by 10 members of county assembly who said procedures were not followed.

The judge said no funds should be released until the case is determined.

He directed the MCAs to serve the county and the Controller of Budget with the court papers ahead of the mentioning of the case on April 9, when other directions will be given.

RULES

The MCAs, through lawyers James Mamboleo and Titus Ochichi, told the judge that Governor Waititu had already signed into law Appropriation Bill, 2019 and was in the process of acquiring funds from the National Treasury.

They complained that while passing the bill, the assembly did not follow rules and procedures.

Besides not being consulted, MCAs including Stanley Kiarie, Peter Karuga, John Ngure and Samuel Kimani said the Finance committee was not involved.

They further said the bill was not moved as stipulated in the standing orders. They noted that the process of presenting, tabling and moving motions dealing with budgetary matters were the sole mandate of the relevant committee yet it was not involved.

THE CLAIMS

The court heard that on March 19, 2019, the Procedure and Rules Committee met privately and split the Finance, Budget and Appropriations Committee into two.

This resulted in the formation of the Finance and Economic Committee and the Budget Appropriations Committee, an act they said was illegal.

The complaints further said an ad hoc committee was created on March 21, 2019, contrary to standing orders, with the sole aim of passing Supplementary Appropriations Bill No.3.

They said the move was meant to kick out the relevant committee after its members refused to pass the bill.

"Article 2 (3) of the County Governments Act provides that in the case of a bill on money, the assembly may proceed only in accordance with the recommendations of the relevant committee and get the views of the county executive committee members responsible for finance," the petition reads.

The MCAs said it was unprocedural for the ad hoc committee to present the supplementary budget bill in breach of standing orders and principles guiding all aspects of public finance.