PENDING BILLS

Garissa contractors laud move to bar county from using Sh1.2bn

High Court issued conservatory orders barring county from using Sh1.2 billion released for pending bills

In Summary

• Ainushamsi Construction and Transport Limited and 62 other contractors sued the county for the delayed payment for the dues. 

• Governor Korane had said it was 'practically impossible' to pay all contractors in a month as directed by the President. 

Abdullahi Ismail, a contractor speaks to the press flanked by his colleagues two weeks ago
COUNTY OWES US: Abdullahi Ismail, a contractor speaks to the press flanked by his colleagues two weeks ago
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Contractors from Garissa yesterday welcomed the ruling barring the county from using Sh1.2 billion meant for pending bills. 

They said the ruling came at the right time as they fight to be paid their dues after the county government has refused to recognise their contractual terms.

“We hope it’ll assist us in recovering what rightfully belongs to us,” chairman Hamza Mohamed said.

“We’ve been subjected to untold suffering. Despite our pleas to the governor to push and see to it that we are paid for projects we initiated in 2013-14, nothing has been forthcoming.”

Ainushamsi Construction and Transport Limited and 62 other contractors sued the county for the delayed payment.

Abdullahi Ismail expressed optimism the ruling will compel the county to pay. He said they sued the devolved unit after several attempts to get the cash hit a dead end.

Last Wednesday, the High Court in Garissa issued conservatory orders barring the county government from using Sh1.2 billion released for clearing pending bills. Justice Charles Kariuki ordered the county to file a replying affidavit and serve it within 21 days. Petitioners can file their affidavits within seven days. 

The next hearing will be on September 4 at the Milimani law courts, Nairobi.

The court further directed the deputy registrar to organise how the file will be taken to Nairobi.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, during the 56th Madaraka day celebrations in Narok, directed the National Treasury and accounting officers of various ministries in both the national and county governments to clear all pending bills that do not have audit queries. 

He said pending payments have negatively affected many businesses.

However, speaking later, Governor Ali Korane said it was "practically impossible" to pay the contractors in a month as directed by the President.

He said his administration inherited Sh4 billion in outstanding bills from the previous administration which is about 50 per cent of the county’s annual budget.

Contractors clashed with former Governor Nathif Jamaa’s administration on several occasions over nonpayment of bills. 

Edited by R.Wamochie