Row erupts between Governor Ruto and county Speaker over budget

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ruto+IsaacA dispute has erupted between Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto and County Assembly Speaker Geoffrey Kipngetich Korir over the assembly’s budget.

The governor has been accused of allowing the slashing of about Sh24 million that was to be allocated to the assembly for July and August to pay staff salaries.

The Speaker claimed that the move by the Executive to deny them funds was part of a wider plan to stall their operations.

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“We read political mischief in this matter and the assembly has resolved to summon the chief executive in-charge of finance and economic planning, Dr Peter Koros, to shed more light,” Mr Korir said.

The motion to summon the chief executive was tabled by Kipsonoi Ward rep Mr John Ng’etich.

Mr Korir, while addressing a press conference outside the assembly on Monday, said it was wrong for the executive to cut allocations without consultations.

“We respect the executive and we also demand that they accord us similar respect,” he said.

MIND THEIR BUSINESS

However Governor Ruto, in a statement, said ward reps should mind their business of legislation, representation and oversight.

“Some people have made the assembly an enterprise to make money. We insist that prudent management of public funds must be followed and there are no shortcuts,” he said.

Separately, Dr Koros said that the Commission on Revenue Allocation put a ceiling of Sh446 million for the county assembly, which translates to Sh37 million monthly.

“When the National Treasury released the allocation in July to the Bomet County, it was less than what had been requisitioned. As a result, we gave the assembly Sh32 million,” Dr Koros said, adding that the assembly’s request for Sh53m for August was turned down as it was not practical. They got Sh34 million.

“The assembly included Sh16 million for July and August as consultancy services for construction which we considered unrealistic.

“The county government has employed experts including architects, engineers, and quantity surveyors who should be utilised for such services to reduce costs,” Dr Koros said.

“On the alleged failure by the Executive to release salaries for ward staff and offices, the Clerk to the Assembly did not release a list of the said staff, how much they were to be paid, and the mode in which they had been hired.” Dr Koros clarified.

He said the matter was aggravated by the fact that the County Assembly Service Board did not communicate to the Executive on the same and that a circular from the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) had not been received by the county executive.

SHARE FACILITIES

“The county government has constructed offices for ward administrators and ward representatives so as to ease service delivery to the public by making the offices one-stop shops and hence the facilities can be shared and there was no need to lease other offices.” he said.

Dr Koros added, “The Executive is willing to engage with the Assembly on the matters raised so as to shed more light where necessary.”

The new row comes hot in the heels of a spat between the governor and the assembly over allocation for development vote in this year’s budget with the matter ending up in court.

But the High Court sitting in Kericho overruled the matter saying the Speaker did not follow due process in rejecting the memorandum from the executive.

A supplementary budget prepared by the Executive is set to be subjected to a public participation process next week.

DECLINED TO ASSENT TO BILL

Governor Ruto had declined to assent to the 2015/2016 Appropriation Bill passed by the County Assembly saying the House flouted the Public Finance Management Act by allocating itself development vote and bursting the budgetary ceilings by Sh 166 million.

The MCAs had allocated themselves Sh 612 million for both recurrent and development votes in the Appropriation Bill passed in July.

MCAs had allocated the Assembly Sh113, 253, 559 as development vote for purchase of land to construct the Speaker’s residence, new chamber, landscaping, pavements, purchase of solar panels, construction of a perimeter wall, county assembly houses, wash rooms, committee rooms and other amenities lacking at the institution.

Mr Ruto had in a memo to the assembly cited the House for bursting the ceilings provided to it by CRA on the recurrent expenditure by Sh52 million.

He said the assembly further erred in allocating itself Sh113 million for development yet that was not its mandate.

-nation.co.ke

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