STANDOFF

Row over budget to delay Kitui MCAs, staff salaries

MCAs unanimous that supplementary budget had serious illegalities

In Summary

• As the assembly rejects the supplementary budget, the approval for its requisition is also recalled.

• The goings-on to delay release of funds.

Kitui county assembly speaker Goerge Ndotto and Majority leader Peter Kilonzo at a Kitui hotel
Kitui county assembly speaker Goerge Ndotto and Majority leader Peter Kilonzo at a Kitui hotel
Image: Musembi Nzengu

Kitui MCAs and employees could wait longer for their June salaries owing to the rejection of the 2018-19 supplementary budget. 

The row started on Thursday when the county assembly threw out the Sh11 billion supplementary budget presented by the Finance executive. This came three days to the closure of the current fiscal year.

But in a move apparently meant to wreak vengeance on the county lawmakers, Finance executive Mary Nguli recalled a letter she had sent to the Controller of Budget a day earlier.

In the letter, she had sought the approval of the county assembly salaries and other benefits. Nguli, however, promised to resubmit the requisition after it is revised.

And in the supplementary budget, she sought to transfer Sh240 million from the development vote to the county executive recurrent kitty for workers’ salaries. But the assembly said this was illegal. 

With the shooting down of the budget and the swift retaliation by Nguli, the MCAs and other county staff could have their pay delayed. The situation could worsen if the standoff persists. 

During daylong deliberations on the supplementary budget, the MCAs were unanimous that it had serious illegalities. They said they their decision was meant to discourage supplementary budgets in the future. The sitting was chaired by speaker George Ndotto. 

Curiously, the decision was backed by Minority leader John Kisangau. The Kwa Vonza MCA is a member of Governor Charity Ngilu-led Narc party. Ordinarily, he is expected to champion the administration’s interests in the assembly. 

“This time round I’ll not appease any individual. I’ll stand with the people of Kwa Vonza who voted for me and expect nothing short of development. We cannot illegally allow development money to service the unjustified ballooning wage bill in our count,” he said.

In Nguli’s letter to the Controller of Budget dated June 27, 2019, she said there were indications that the supplementary budget would not be passed, hence the need to recall her approval for assembly requisition.

“We, therefore, recall the above requisition back to the county treasury for adjustment to expunge approvals given on the basis of the unapproved supplementary budget,” she said. 

(Edited by F'Orieny)