CONTROLLER OF BUDGET IN TROUBLE OVER COUNTY CASH.

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Professor Tom Ojienda for Makueni county government leaves a courtroom at Milimani Law Courts after he obtained orders to commence contempt of court proceedings against Controller of Budgets for deliberately violating unequivocal orders of the Court issued on 25/08/2014..

BY SAM ALFAN.

Makueni County Government has obtained orders to commence contempt of court proceedings against Controller of Budgets for deliberately violating unequivocal court orders issued on 25th July 2014 by Justice Lenaola.

Vacation duty judge Mumbi Ngugi ordered the controller of budget to release half of the budgets estimates to the counties pending the hearing of a case where all the county assemblies petitioned the controller of budgets and Commission of Revenue allocation against putting ceilings on their budgets.
Makueni County through its lawyers Professor Tom Ojienda and Felix Marua argues that they will now commence contempt of court proceedings after it emerged that the Controller of Budgets Agnes Odhiambo has denied them funds.
According to Professor Ojienda’s affidavit: despite being aware of the Orders of this Court of the 25th July 2014 and 1st August 2014, in extremely callous and diabolical conduct, the controller of budgets has refused to release funds to Makueni County thereby stalling the operations of the County Government.
The affidavit further states that the deliberate conduct of Agnes Odhiambo presents a real and imminent threat to the administration and dignity of justice and to the authority of the court. The order to release 50 percent of the monies as a result of county budget estimates was made by Isaac Lenaola on the 25th of July after the 47 county assemblies moved to court against imposing ceilings on county budget allocations.
The circulars putting ceilings on county budgets were issued in April 2014 by Commission of Revenue Allocation.
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 25 of July, 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 were 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.

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