- The speaker told Lenku that under his watch, the assembly will never be used to rubber-stamp “questionable and suspect deals.”
- “The county assembly cannot be coerced, threatened or scared to act under duress for expedience to approve illegalities,” Ngossur said.
Governor Joseph Lenku on Monday accused the county assembly of acting like aliens in a county facing starvation and engaging in partisan politics.
Lenku said he is a bitter man after the county assembly threw out his request for Sh100 million for the livestock offtake budget.
“To support ourselves as a government, we consulted widely and re-allocated Sh100 million in our 2022-2023 financial year budget for livestock off-take programme for our suffering livestock owners,” he said.
“This re-allocation was presented in the supplementary budget to the county assembly for approval but they threw it away.”
In a rejoinder, the county assembly issued a statement on Monday afternoon saying they acted professionally by rejecting the governor's request because it lacked guidelines on its utilisation.
“The executive arm of government should not cry foul on the Sh100 million that lacks guidelines on its utilisation. It is not possible to approve government funds that lack backing in law,” the statement signed by speaker Justus Ngossur read.
Ngossur said the county assembly will, therefore, stand firm on prudent spending and allocations as it carries out its oversight and budget approval mandate without fear.
He said, it's time the executive accepted that the assembly shall continue playing its oversight role.
The speaker told Lenku that under his watch, the assembly will never be used to rubber-stamp “questionable and suspect deals.”
He said the county assembly is a constitutional arm of county government clearly defined and embedded in law.
“County assemblies are established under Article 176(1) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, which provides that:- There shall be a county government for each county, consisting of a county assembly and a county executive,” Ngossur said.
The speaker said Article 185 of the Constitution outlines the roles of a county assembly:- legislation, representation, oversight and approval of the county budget.
As a constitutional office, Ngossur said, the county assembly, therefore, discharges its mandate in line with the law.
“The county assembly cannot be coerced, threatened or scared to act under duress for expedience to approve illegalities,” the speaker said.
Ngossur said considering the foregoing it’s important that the executive arm of the county government clearly understands that taxpayers’ funds must follow function and must be allocated as required by law.
The executive arm, he said, is aware of the guidelines provided for in the PFM Act, 2012. The Assembly cannot allocate funds without a policy guideline, he added.
“In all fairness, and in an act of open governance, transparency and accountability the committee on budget and appropriations invited the Finance and Agriculture executives to advise and clarify on criteria, timeliness and guideline on the way the said livestock offtake fund Sh100 million will be utilised,” Ngossur said.
Unfortunately, the speaker said, the heads of the said departments could not convince the committee on the way the funds would be used without the guiding documents - this is against the PFM Act, 2012.
Lenku said: “It is shocking that our county assembly leadership and the budget committee did not see the value of helping us cushion our people from total losses of their livestock.”
The governor said since his first week in office for the second term, nothing has preoccupied his government more than how he can mobilise resources to cushion his people from the ravages of the ongoing drought.
“We have stepped up our game and earned invaluable support from national and international donor agencies as well as individuals of goodwill,” Lenku said.