- The Advocates of the High Court Shadrack Muyesu and Klinsman Munase want the Appropriation Act 2023 declared unconstitutional for failing to set aside money for servicing debt.
- The Appropriations Act is the law that authorises the withdrawal of money from the Consolidated Fund for the expenditure of the national government.
The two Petitioners have gone to court to challenge the legality of the Appropriations Act 2023.
The Advocates of the High Court Shadrack Muyesu and Klinsman Munase want the Appropriation Act 2023 declared unconstitutional for failing to set aside money for servicing debt.
Muyesu and Munase, want government spending stopped due to the government’s failure to declare the country’s total debt obligation, making it difficult to ascertain the debt stock and authorise payments.
Two petitioners have moved to court to block the implementation of the Appropriations Act, of 2023, a move that could potentially limit the ability of the government to spend money to finance its operations.
They filed a petition before High Court judge Lady Justice Mugure Thande, last week and the matter will be mentioned on September 28 for directions.
“We want the court to issue orders barring the National Treasury from financing any debt taken by the country, block expenditures not declared in the Appropriation Act as well as suspend some sections of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012,” they state.
They argue that the Appropriation Act, of 2023 has failed to declare the country’s total debt obligation, making it difficult to ascertain the debt stock and authorise payments.
The Appropriations Act is the law that authorises the withdrawal of money from the Consolidated Fund for the expenditure of the national government.
In their petition before the court, Muyesu and Munase argue that paying off debts whose status was yet to be made public would be a violation of the law.
The two argue that their case is based on the fact that most of the funds borrowed by the government in the last ten years, like the Eurobond, were yet to be accounted for.
Some of the borrowed funds, the petitioners argue, are also said to have been diverted to accounts not authorized by law, including offshore accounts, making it difficult to ascertain the true extent of the country’s total debt stock.
“According to the law, all public debts have to be deposited in consolidated Fund, and after it has been deposited it has to be spent in accordance with an authority issued by the National Assembly through the Appropriation Act, therefore in the absence of the Appropriation Act, any expenditure is illegal,” Muyesu.
“The problem that we are having now is the government borrows money outside, and once borrowed, they have taken advantage to spend the funds outside this country without depositing in the consolidated fund.”
According to the Auditor General, Nancy Gathungu says there is no financial statement to show the debt position.
“The status of the country’s public debt is only included as an annexure in the Consolidated Fund Statement of expenditure,” the auditor said.
A House committee report before Parliament shows Gathungu submitted to lawmakers that it was impossible to tell the current value of public debt.