BY SAM ALFAN.
County assemblies got a reprieve after the High Court ordered National treasury and Commission of Revenue Allocation to release 50% of the budget estimates to counties for the 2014/2015 financial year.
On Thursday 47 county assemblies moved to court seeking to quash the directive by the Commission of Revenue Allocation (CRA) and Controller of Budget limiting their extravagant expenses.
They have been given a temporary reprieve after Justice Isaac Lenaola directed National Treasury and CRA to release 50% of the budget estimates to counties for the 2014/2015 financial year.
Revenue Allocation, the Salaries and the Remuneration Commissions and the AG will have to file their responses against the case.
The MCAs want treasury to release funds without CRA setting caps on their budgets and allowances.
Majority of the Counties have failed to approve budgets in protest to the financial ceiling that has been set by the CRA and controller of budget limiting their extravagant expenses.
County assemblies’ claim that the operations of Counties have been paralyzed Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) on Thursday made good their threat to move to court over their 2014/15 budget stalemate with the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) and Controller of Budget.
In a suit filed by Speakers of all 47 County Assemblies on behalf of their residents, the MCAs want the Controller of Budget compelled to implement the counties’ budgets for the 2014/15 fiscal year.
The assemblies say that circulars issued in April and July this year limiting their spending are against the spirit of the constitution.
The county assemblies are aggrieved by circulars sent to them by the Commission of Revenue Allocation and Controller of Budget in April and July 2014 directing county assembly speakers to enforce the mandatory ceiling to financial allocations for the financial year 2014/2015.
It is against this background that they appeared before Justice Isaac Lenaola who certified their case as urgent and ordered them to serve the respondents.
The MCAs want the court to quash the directive with Mandera County Speaker Abdi Kadir Sheikh saying that the budgetary ceilings are meant to derail devolution in the country.
According to them the County Assemblies in approving their own budgets are within the law and that CRA and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has no mandate to set caps on budgets and allowances.
The MCAs are specifically opposed to the budget restrictions on salaries, allowances, gratuity and mileage.
The budgetary limits were imposed following a report revealing that Members of the County Assemblies had spent 2 billion shillings on activities outside their mandate.
The case will be mentioned on the 29th of August before Justice Isaac Lenaola.