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September 24, 2018

Kakamega ex-MCAs in debt as Appeal Court cancels payout

Kakamega County assembly in session in June. Photo/File
Kakamega County assembly in session in June. Photo/File

Friday’s Appeal Court verdict overturning the Sh8 billion pay awarded to past MCAs by the High Court has sent former Kakamega ward reps to the drawing board.

The Court of Appeal has overturned a decision that could have seen MCAs pocket close to Sh8 billion. They owe the county assembly Sh240 million in car loans and mortgages. The MCAs had directed the assembly to forfeit the additional salaries they had been awarded by the High Court to cover the period between August and March next year to settle their debts. High Court judge Edward Muriithi said the ward representatives are entitled to payment for loss of income for the incomplete term of office.

The MCAs said their tenure was cut short when the August 8 election was held before the expiry of their five-year term.

But Justices Philip Waki, Roselyne Nambuye and William Ouko on Friday reversed the decision, saying it was made through misinterpretation of the Constitution. The judges were of the view that requiring taxpayers to pay MCAs after the August 8 General Election when there are other elected state officers elected like them was not justifiable.

Each MCA is entitled to a Sh2 million car loan and a Sh3 million mortgage repayable within their term of office at an interest rate of three per cent.

“We’re going to begin writing to the former ward reps starting today (yesterday) to ask them to make alternative arrangements to offset their debts,” assembly clerk Patrick Kamwesser told the Star. Kamwesser said the former MCAs had committed that the assembly forfeits their gratuities to settle part of the balances.

The gratuities had already been grabbed by the assembly. Records at the assembly indicate only one MCA has fully serviced his loans and is entitled to his full gratuity.

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