Governors move to court over 6.4 billion Fund

Governors have moved to the High Court seeking to have the Equalisation Fund stopped until the guidelines for the disbursement of the fund is changed.

In their petition, the governors are seeking to quash the guidelines on the administration of the Fund published in the Kenya gazette that grants the National Government a supreme role over the monies.

The county bosses want the Controller of Budget restrained from approving any withdrawals from the fund until their pleas are heard and determined.

“If monies are meant for county functions, they need to be sent to the county government, money meant for National Government needs to be sent to the national government identified agencies respecting the Constitution and the law governing the flow of funds in the devolved system of governance,” read part of their petition.

They now want the money released directly to the marginalized counties contrary to the Constitution structure that demands the monies be released through the ministry of Devolution.

Additionally, they demand the mandate of identifying the projects under which the monies will be utilised be scraped from the National government and awarded to the county leadership.

Treasury under the provisions of article 202 of the Constitution allocated Sh6.4 billion in the current financial year 2016/2017.

The fund under controversy is provided for in the Constitution to provide basic services to marginalized counties to the extent necessary to bring the quality of those services in the affected devolved units to the level generally enjoyed by the rest of the nation.

Led by the Council of Governors (CoG) chairman Peter Munya, the governors contend that despite making several submissions to the Attorney General and Controller of Budget, changes to the guidelines on the fund were not amended to reflect and incorporate the recommendations of the Council of Governors.

“Unless the orders are granted the National Assembly will pass the appropriate Bill allocating over 20 billion shillings to the Equalization Fund and which with thereafter disbursed in accordance with the guidelines on the administration of the Equalization Fund in the special issue of the Kenya Gazette volume CXV11-NO 26 which is unconstitutional,” argued the CoG.

According to the court documents, the identified marginalized devolved units to receive grants under the fund include Garissa, Isiolo, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Narok, Samburu, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Turkana, Wajir and West Pokot.

They claim that the policy guidelines issued by the Attorney General failed to take into consideration the policy guidelines issued by CRA on the composition of the Advisory Committee and the mode in which the said funds would be disbursed.

Identification of projects supported by the equalization fund which is a conditional grant is the responsibility of county governments in line with the CIDP.

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