About 35 members of the Kitui County Assembly face a Sh21 million surcharge for money they pocketed during a foreign trip.
The MCAs had already exhausted their travel budget, forcing the county’s Finance executive to authorise expenditure outside of it.
The authorisation was on condition that the expenditure is regularised through a supplementary budget.
But on Friday, the leaders shot down the supplementary budget in a standoff with Governor Charity Ngilu, citing a reduction in development allocations and increased recurrent expenditure.
The MCAs seemed unaware that among the items in the supplementary budget was an allocation for their travel expenditure.
An MCA who requested not to be named told the Nation that the members hurriedly rejected the supplementary budget to undermine the executive without realising that the rejection would also determine their fate.
In May, Finance Executive Mary Nguli had allowed Assembly Clerk Elijah Mutambuki to fund the MCAs who had been scheduled to visit Singapore, UAE, Canada and Malaysia.
“The purpose of my letter is to inform you of the approval to reallocate funds to foreign travel and payment of legal fees as requested, provided that the same is regularised through a supplementary budget before the end of this financial year,” Ms Nguli said in a letter to the clerk dated May 15.
Mr Mutambuki had on the same day written to Ms Nguli requesting for reallocation of the funds to the foreign travel budget.
He said the funds allocated to travel had partly been used to pay for the previous year’s pending bills.
The affected MCAs will now be surcharged between Sh450,000 and Sh610,000 to recover the Sh21.4 million they spent on the trip for allowances, air tickets and money paid out to facilitators of various conferences.
The MCAs’ fate seems to be sealed since the supplementary budget was to be passed before the end of the 2018-2019 financial year, which ended on Saturday.
They will also forego another Sh8.6 million allocated to them from development projects.
The supplementary budget had sought to increase allocation to the Health department to hire more staff and casual workers to reduce workload.
Hospitals have seen an increase in the number of patients in the last one year, following the introduction of the county medical insurance scheme for residents and also improved services.