COURT ALLOWS STATE TO RELEASE SH 2 BILLION WOMEN FUND.

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Nyeri Woman representative Priscilla Nyokabi , Florence Kajuju(Meru) and Joyce Lay( Taita Taveta )leaving Milimani  law courts accompanied by other women representative after High court suspended orders restraining the disbursement of funds to the newly created Women Representatives kitty on Thursday January 21, 2016.

BY SAM ALFAN.

High court has suspended orders prohibiting the disbursement of funds to the newly created Women Representatives kitty pending the hearing and determination of the final petition.

Justice Onguto ruled that the Women representatives should only use the money that is in their accounts but no more funds will be released pending the hearing and determination of the main petition in 90 days.

However, he barred Treasury cabinet secretary from releasing or disbursing further additional money or funds to any institution under the Public Finance Management (Affirmative Action Social Development Fund) apart from the Kshs 2,000,000 already disbursed through Central bank of Kenya.

“Pending the hearing and final determination of this petition, treasury should not release more money to the women representatives for affirmative action expect the 2million already disbursed, “said Onguto.

Woman representative from Nyeri Priscilla Nyokabi while addressing the press outside Milimani law courts after the ruling said she was happy with the ruling and the money will be used in various projects especially to help the minorities within the society.

“The money will be used the minorities who have been sidelined in the past,” said Nyokabi. She added that they have appreciated the ruling and will be back in court for the full petition.

Nyokabi added that the money will be used to help improve the lives of children with disability, the people who are suffering from gender based violence, youths among other projects.

“The fund is different from CDF because it is a people development fund, Women reps are not the once to implement it but the County Commissioners, “said Nyokabi.

Joyce Lay a woman representative from Taita Taveta County said the fund is important in helping the minorities within the society.

Lay said that the court has granted them a chance to use the allocation as they wait for the full ruling pending in 90 days.

During the hearing, Parliament urged the High Court to reverse orders stopping the disbursement of funds to the newly created Women Representatives kitty.

Justice Joseph Onguto has been implored to do so on the grounds that orders issued last December have highly prejudiced the vulnerable in the society.

Lawyer Sheriff Sam Mwendwa for the National Assembly told the court if the directive persists government projects will be crippled.

The court heard that staff have been recruited to carry out projects and are yet to receive their salaries for three months.

“Employed officers who need to be paid using the funds were waiting for structures to be put in place,’’ he argued.

The court stopped reimbursement of the funds following an urgent application by a lobby group who have argued that that latter is unconstitutional.

The judge directed all the bank accounts created to facilitate disbursement of the Affirmative Action Social Development Fund to remain frozen pending determination of the case.

Through lawyer Suyianka Lempaa, the petitioner has argued that there was no public participation in establishment of the fund.

He contended the fund was not approved by the Senate, even though it directly affects counties.

During the hearing a state counsel representing the Attorney- General failed to inform the court that funds had already been disbursed.

“Assertions that funds have not been disbursed was a mistake. The position is that they have already been distributed, ’he added.

Justice Onguto heard the funds established under section 24(4) of the Public Finance Act are targeting the needy, weak, orphans and the old.

High Court last year declined to lift orders that barred the National Treasury from disbursing monies to the kitty. Judge Joseph Onguto refused to review his orders that tied off Sh2 billion from the 47 women legislators elected on affirmative action in the 2013 elections noting that they will not suffer if the orders are not lifted.

The Government through Attorney General Githu Muigai wanted the orders lifted, arguing that the money had already been allocated for use, some of which had already been issued as bursaries and some for buying cars for the woman reps.

“It is unfortunate that the employees will have to suffer the consequences,” Justice Onguto said adding that the application for review will have to be heard when the court opens for the new term.

Onguto froze all the bank accounts of the fund and its county committees will remain frozen until the outcome of a petition lodged by Institute for Social Accountability (ISA) is determined.

Mr Onguto directed Attorney General to pay the cost of the application before the hearing of the petition which will be heard on 8 0f February.

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