State orders removal of Kahiga as signatory for Nairobi county accounts

In Summary

• He said there was therefore no reason for Kahiga's continued retention as a signatory.

Pauline Kahiga
Pauline Kahiga
Image: FILE

The Solicitor General has accused former Nairobi Finance CEC Pauline Kahiga of failing to present herself to sign the surrender document needed to remove her as a signatory to the county account.

As a result the Central Bank of Kenya has been unable to transfer the signatory mandate to the new appointee on account, Allan Igambi, who is the current CEC for Finance.

The signing of the surrender form is required by the Bank's guidelines.

Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto wants CBK to remove Kahiga as the signatory for Nairobi County accounts, replacing her with Igambi.

In a letter dated March 18, Ogeto  said, "It is our understanding from the referenced discussions that while the bank has no such obligations, it has nevertheless made persistent and consistent efforts in good faith to have the said previous office holder present herself to sign the surrender to no avail."

There has been a push and pull in the battle for the Finance docket between Igambi and Kahiga which started in January when Kahiga, who had taken over the Finance department was degazetted by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko as the substantive CEC.

Sonko also gazetted Igambi as the substantive CEC for Finance.

However, the office of the Government Printer declined the degazettement, arguing that it was not done according to the law.

On January 31, Sonko reshuffled his Cabinet, officially kicking out Kahiga from the office, replacing her with Igambi.

Even though she could not access the office physically and despite the reshuffle, Kahiga still remained in office and continued her duties.

Two weeks ago, the Government printer finally acknowledged and gazetted Igambi as Nairobi's CEC for Finance, but it was claimed that Kahiga was still doing the payments.

When reached for comment , Kahiga said there are matters before the court which she would not like to talk about.

"There are several matters in court concerning the legitimacy and legality of Governor Sonko's actions. Upon advise from my lawyers , it would therefore not be in order for me to comment on such matters as I would not want to jeopardise any such matters by my actions," she said.

In the letter addressed to CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge, Ogeto noted that the delay of transfer of signatory mandate has lead to paralysis of operations at City Hall since no payments have been taking place.

He noted that there was no reason for Kahiga's signature being retained as she ceases to be an employee at City Hall" There is no basis in law to retain Pauline Kahiga as the holder of the signatory mandate, as she no longer holds the County Government position that vested her with the said signatory mandate. The new appointee is by law required to discharge all the duties attached to the position," Ogeto said.

The letter was copied to Governor Mike Sonko, County Attorney Lydia Kwaboka and Attorney General Paul Kihara.

As highlighted in the Public Finance Management Act 2012 Section 103 (3), the CEC for Finance shall be the head of the County Treasury .

The county Treasury is responsible for authorising the opening and closing of bank accounts for the County Government and its entities except as otherwise provided by the legislation and and in accordance with regulations made under the Act.

The functions above can only be discharged by the duly appointed office holder.

Ogeto said the county faces possible legal action if the issue is not resolved that could lead to unnecessary use of taxpayers' monies in the form of damages and related disbursement.