FINGER POINTING

Deepening power play at City Hall blamed for MCAs missing April pay

Assembly staff have also yet to receive their salaries.

In Summary

• The problem has been aggravated by the return of assembly clerk Jacob Ngwele as the accounting officer on the order of Governor Mike Sonko.

• Speaker Beatrice Elachi Elachi refused to comment on the issue, dismissing it as an administrative matter.

Nairobi county assembly Public Accounts Committee chairman Wilfred Odalo on May 12, 2020.
Nairobi county assembly Public Accounts Committee chairman Wilfred Odalo on May 12, 2020.
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

Nairobi MCAs and assembly staff are yet to be paid their April salaries because of the deepening push and pull between the executive and the county assembly.

The salaries owed to the 122 MCAs, 150  assembly staff and 300 ward staff amount to Sh60 million.

“As the county treasury, we did our part and the payroll was processed. The delay might be coming from the office of the clerk,” Finance executive Allan Igambi told the County Assembly Public Accounts Committee on Tuesday.

He had been summoned to shed light on the alleged irregular transfer of funds from the treasury.

 

Nairobi County Executive for Finance Allan Igambi before the assembly's Public Accounts Committee on May 12, 2020.
Nairobi County Executive for Finance Allan Igambi before the assembly's Public Accounts Committee on May 12, 2020.
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

The problem seems to have been aggravated by the return of assembly clerk Jacob Ngwele as the accounting officer on the order of Governor Mike Sonko.

“Yes, I was directed verbally by His Excellency the Governor to consider the advisory from the Solicitor General that advised that Ngwele is the substantive clerk of the assembly following a ruling by the Employment and Labour Relations court,” Igambi said.

Ngwele was last month reinstated to the Integrated Financial Management and Information System (IFMIS) as the assembly’s signatory to its account and at the Central Bank of Kenya. He had been removed from the position last December.

The County Assembly had in the meantime changed its letterheads.

The clerk is the assembly's chief accounting officer. He is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the assembly, including payment of county staff and MCAs' salaries.

The MCAs blamed the county treasury for the return of Ngwele to the IFMIS system despite him being considered ‘a stranger’ when the assembly adopted a report on his removal as the clerk.

Nairobi County Chief Officer for Finance Halkano Waqo before the county assembly Public Accounts Committee on May 12, 2020.
Nairobi County Chief Officer for Finance Halkano Waqo before the county assembly Public Accounts Committee on May 12, 2020.
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

County chief Finance officer Halkano Waqo said Ngwele was not returned to the office to annoy the assembly but in obedience of the court order.

“There was a court order ruling that Ngwele was the substantive clerk. If we do not follow the law we can be sued. We only acted because of the court order. Nothing more," Waqo said.

Members of the committee told Igambi that he will be held responsible for any further delay of the legislators’ salaries.

Ngwele said he had on April 30 approved salaries payment as mandated by law but the approval was allegedly cancelled by Speaker Beatrice Elachi.

“I understand that after the cancellation, money was invoiced afresh. It has not even left level one of the payment process. At the end of the day if the accountants release it, it will still come back to me,” he said.

Elachi refused to comment on the issue as " it is an administrative matter".

 

 

- mwaniki fm