Speaker Ndotto bows to Ngilu’s pressure, releases budget letter after court action

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Kitui County Assembly Chambers

The Kitui County Assembly Speaker has bowed to pressure and released the letter that will allow the county government to access cash from the treasury after Governor Ngilu moved to court.

The speaker, who had last Tuesday led assembly team to the Controller of budget seeking to block the county from accessing any fund, delivered the letter yesterday hours after it emerged the executive has resorted to seek legal help.

However, to escape blame and legal scrutiny he backdated the letter to Thursday last week, despite declining to write the letter as late as Friday evening occasioning court action.

The executive, in a suit filed at Kitui Law Courts claimed that the Speaker’s failure to communicate the assembly’s decision regarding the 2019-2020 approved budget had made it difficult to access funds from the National Treasury to pay county staff salaries for the month of June.

Controller of Budget wrote to the Kitui Finance executive advising that her office can only authorise the release of funds after it is furnished with the letter from County Assembly Speaker as required by the law, prompting court action.

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The assembly passed the county budget on June 28 and the Speaker was supposed to communicate in writing on or before July 5, before the lapse of the seven days window provided in law.

The executive argues that the Speaker has no latitude in law to delay the communication of the assembly’s decision beyond the seven days stipulated under Section 134 (3) of the Public Finance Management Act.

The county has had trouble with salaries, blamed on a supremacy contest after the county assembly rejected the supplementary budget.

The county had asked the county assembly to reallocate more funds to the salary vote after a shortfall occasioned by Sh498 million payment of tax arrears that accrued between 2013 to 2017 financial years.

The tax arrears covered the period before the current governor Charity Ngilu took office in August 2017.

Last week speaker Ndotto K, clerk and Majority leader returned with egg on their face as their forays to Controller of Budget, National Treasury to block disbursement of fund is rejected.

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As leaked earlier, Kitui County Assembly Speaker George Ndotto led a team of Wiper MCAs to the office of the Controller of Budget and later visited the National Treasury in an attempt to block Kitui County Government from accessing funds for Salaries for County Staff, development.

According to exclusive information obtained by our correspondent, a source that attended the meeting but requested not to be named, revealed that the COB told the entourage that the county is allowed to access 50 per cent of the budgeted amount as per the Public Finance Management Act of 2012.

But after this setback, the team decided to frustrate the county by denying it the statutory letter, and only released after court action.

QUESTIONS

Questions being asked are:
1. Why did the speaker, the majority leader and top assembly leadership go to Controller of budget seeking to block the access to fund?

2. How does it benefit the speaker and his team when the service stalls?

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3. Why did he release a crucial and statutory letter only after court action?

4. Is there malice to stall service delivery in order to incite the residents against the government?

5. Is he working by himself or from direct instruction from Wiper party leadership?

6. Is it Wiper party position to stop service delivery for the people of KITUI?

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