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Outcry as Migori MCAs approve Sh4.1m benevolent funds

Friday July 10 2020
assembly

Migori County Assembly's headquarters. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By IAN BYRON

Migori County Assembly has come under criticism after ward representatives allocated Sh4.1 million for purchase of coffins in the 2020/2021 budget.

The funds are part of the Sh8 billion budget that is awaiting the approval of Governor Okoth Obado.

Residents who spoke to Nation termed the allocation as ‘a misplaced priority’. Some claimed it is a scheme to embezzle public funds.

“Why do the MCAs now want help residents during funerals when there are many stalled projects in the county?” Samuel Migore, a resident, asked.

Some residents wondered why the county would allocate such huge amount to buying of coffins when many locals are struggling to make ends meet following the Covid 19.

Samuel Omwaga, a resident of Awendo, said the allocation for coffins was never raised during a series of public participation meetings that were done in the county over the budget.

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“We had several public participation forums about the budget and I never heard such an item raised. This is a clever scheme to siphon tax payers’ money,” Mr Omwaga said.

A ward representative told the Nation that the allocation had blessings of some senior officials who floated the idea.

“We raised concerns over the allocation but we were told to leave everything intact and push for the implementation,” said the MCA who is a member of the budget and appropriation committee.

The chairman of the committee Thomas Akungo defended the allocation claiming it was a benevolent fund for county staff who may be bereaved during the next financial year.

“This money is not just about coffins, it is generally meant to cushion county staff who may be bereaved. It is also meant to help residents who may not afford to cater for the burial expenses of their loved ones,” Mr Akungo said.

The report by the budget and appropriation committee was unanimously endorsed by the MCAs last week.

However, the ward reps failed to address the controversies surrounding the allocation.

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