BY SAM ALFAN.
Mandera county government can now access its bank accounts after the Court of Appeal lifted an order barring the devolved unit from using the funds.
Appellate court judges Daniel Musinga, Fatuma Sichale and Agnes Murgor suspended the high court orders, pending the determination of an appeal lodged by the Governor Ali Roba administration.
“The conservatory orders granted in the ruling dated May 19, 2022 and the proceedings in Constitutional Petition No. E002 of 2022 are stayed pending the hearing and determination of the appeal,” ruled the judges.
The judges noted that the orders remaining in force would mean that the funds might be returned to the Treasury denying the residents services, paying employees and suppliers and in the process subject the people to hardship.
“Given these premises, in our view, providence demands that the conservatory orders be stayed in the interest of the public,” the judges said.
The High Court had issued orders restraining Mandera County Government from withdrawing, transacting, operating or in any way dealing with monies held in the county’s bank accounts.
The order meant that the county would not use the money for recurrent or development, as the Supplementary Budget estimates passed on February 14, 2022.
Ismail Abdullahi Abdirahman, a resident of Mandera had challenged the use of funds saying the Supplementary Budget did not conform to Articles 10, 201 and 207 of the Constitution.
He said the principles of public finance of openness, accountability and the national values and principle of transparency were not complied with, when passing and approving the budget.
The resident claimed that the county government had made provision for several projects, which were a preserve of the national government.
He cited the renovation and painting of five classrooms at Dikduro Primary School at a cost of Sh 2.5 million, the development of a playground at Dololo Primary School at Sh 2 million, the construction of playground at Kubi Hill Primary at Sh400,000 and an ECD classroom and twin toilets at Ayan Primary in Takaba South at Sh1.5 million.
“That the unilateral allocation of funding for projects that are the preserve of the National Government pursuant to Schedule 4 of the Constitution of Kenya rendered the applicants’ actions a violation of the constitutional dictates on the relationship and cooperation between National and County Government,” he said.
Governor Roba said the county government would be unable to pay employees’ salaries and wages of over 3900 employees for the three months of the next financial year.
He also said the supply of medical drugs to health facilities and provision of emergency water to drought affected sub-counties will be interrupted and while granting the conservatory orders, the judge did not take into account the interests of or the extreme prejudice and disruption to the residents and the County Government.
Roba further argued also complained that the judge failed to appreciate that the requirement of public participation in approving the budget estimates was adhered to as the public and residents of the seven sub- counties were afforded an opportunity to make contributions to the budgetary estimates, the development estimates and recurrent expenditure which the County Treasury took into consideration.