Reprieve for Sonko after State printer revokes Act

Wednesday May 13 2020
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Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By COLLINS OMULO

Governor Mike Sonko has had the last laugh over a contentious Act that allocated Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) Sh15 billion for the functions transferred to the national government.

The Act — Nairobi City County Supplementary Appropriations Act, 2020 — had been gazetted into an Act on April 27, 2020, despite the governor twice declining to assent to it.

However, Government Printer Mwenda Njoka, in a gazette notice dated May 11, 2020, revoked the contentious Act, halting the transfer of the funds to NMS.

“It is notified for the general information of the public that the Government Printer has revoked the Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 2 (Nairobi City County Act No. 1) dated April 27, 2020, which published the purported Nairobi City County Supplementary Appropriations Act, 2020,” he said despite calls by Nairobi assembly leadership for him not to do so.

Mr Sonko’s spokesman Ben Mulwa hailed the move, saying the Executive will now present a new supplementary budget.

“The degazettement now gives room for the right procedure to be followed. We will now forward the supplementary budget we had prepared to the assembly for consideration,” he said.

The revocation of the Act followed a directive by Solicitor-General Ken Ogeto, who on Friday last week said the publication was irregular and unlawful.

This was after Mr Sonko had written to him to direct the government printer to nullify the Act, arguing that it had contravened of the law.

Mr Ogeto agreed with the governor, saying the contested Act was published while still pending before the assembly as it was not assented to in either of the ways contemplated by the law.

But the assembly leadership, earlier on Monday, threatened to sue Mr Njoka, the Attorney General and Mr Ogeto should the Act be degazetted, faulting the latter for overstepping his mandate by calling for its revocation.

Minority Leader David Mberia argued that there was no provision in law vesting the Solicitor-General the powers to annul legislation passed by Parliament or the County Assembly, saying he did not have a role in any legislative process save for giving advice.

He added that the best Mr Ogeto could do is to challenge such legislation in a constitutional court and that the laws passed by mandated bodies and as such, the Act remains in force until such a time a competent court of law may annul it.