Taita-Taveta Governor Granton Samboja has refused to grant Members of the County Assembly’s wish to be given more than Sh830 million in fiscal 2019/2020 for their wards.
Mr Samboja has returned the County Finance Bill 2019 to the House for review, terming the MCAs’s move illegal.
In the proposal, each of the 20 elected MCAs would get Sh41.5 million for ward development, while the 13 nominated ward reps were allocated Sh500,000 each as “appreciation” for supporting the proposal.
The governor said such allocations must be approved by the Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee.
In a memorandum to House Speaker Meshack Maghanga, Mr Samboja asked for a review of the Bill, giving priority to pending bills and ward projects.
“With the need to provide for a budgetary provision for pending bills and the other county government priority projects, the above recommendation for allocation of Sh41,650,000 for each ward will not be tenable.
“From the initial allocation to ward projects as per the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP), I recommend Sh5 million to be taken towards payment of pending bills and Sh15 million towards priority ward projects as proposed by the county residents during budget public participation forums and as captured in the CIDP…,” the governor’s memo stated in part.
Wundanyi MP Danson Mwashako has supported the governor’s move, saying, the proposed allocation is against the law.
“As leaders, we cannot close our eyes and cheer MCAs on as they allocate themselves funds meant for development,” Mr Mwashako said.
This comes even as the county is being investigated over Sh224 million spending by MCAs in the previous financial year.
The amount was allegedly allocated to blackmail the MCAs to pass crucial Bills.
This led to the sacking of Finance Executive Vincent Masawi for the financial mess that made Auditor-General Edward Ouko to issue an adverse opinion in the 2017/2018 audit report.
The auditor said Mr Samboja’s administration had allocated MCAs Sh534.86 million — 12 per cent of the county’s annual budget — which violates the Public Finance Management Act requiring county assemblies to be allocated seven per cent of the total budget.