Budget changes illegal and unconstitutional: Waiguru

Governor Anne Waiguru appearing before the senate committee for her impeachment hearing on Tuesday, June 23. Photo Courtesy.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has called out members of the county assembly of Kirinyaga for what she termed as illegal and unconstitutional changes in the budget.

According to her, the county assembly took advantage of the opportunity to bulldoze the executive either to settle political scores or for personal gain.

She noted that the ward representatives have now disregarded the law and used the budget to retaliate instead of serving the electorate.

The governor said that the MCAs have no power to arbitrarily amend the budget to suit their interest after they awarded themselves Kh200 million in disregard of the Public Finance Management Act which limits the expenditure by the County Assembly.

In the budget estimates, 70 percent of the county collects Ksh369 million in revenue but the MCAs allocated personal emoluments of Ksh241 million.

Ms Waiguru said that the County Assembly amended the budget estimates to allocate themselves Ksh569 million in total.

The governor, citing Regulation 37(1) of the PFM Act 2015, noted that the law limits the County Assembly variations on budget votes to 1 percent of the ceilings.

“The estimates for the County Executive and the County Assembly are covered by the ceilings which are contained in the County Allocation of Revenue Act (CARA) and therefore, these amounts are ring-fenced by the act and cannot be amended in the budget estimates,” she said.

Waiguru also accused the assembly of illegally assigning itself the role of developing a County Appropriation Bill which is the role of the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) of Finance. 

She noted that the budget-making process allows for consultation on the budget estimates prior to the debate and approval of the Appropriation Bill, adding that the executive followed all the requirements.

“Besides, the executive has been furnishing the assembly with budget implementation status reports as required which gives the assembly an opportunity to scrutinize the expenditure,” said the governor.

She promised not to allow the illegality to continue, saying that she will reject the budget and resend it back to the assembly with a memorandum.

The assembly can only overrule the governor’s memorandum if three-quarters of MCAs, that is 22 members, vote to overturn it.

If the 22 MCAs vote to reject the governor’s memorandum, the Budget will become law after seven days should she decline to assent to it.

On Monday, the MCAs slashed county executive’s legal fees from Ksh60 million to only Ksh1million, claiming it was meant to pay the governors’ lawyers in the impeachment process.

The assembly also slashed the county secretary’s office budget from Ksh 111 million to zero.