No reprieve for counties as AG declines to okay the release of funds

Saturday, August 17th, 2019 00:00 | By
Cash. Photo/Courtesy

County government’s financial woes are far from over after Attorney General Paul Kihara on Friday advised against releasing 50 per cent of money due to them this year to pay salaries and other urgent bills.

In an advisory opinion, Kihara said the release of the money has to be done within the law.

As such, he ruled out a likelihood of counties receiving any amount before the passage of the Division of Revenue Bill, citing lack of enabling legislation.

Kihara said that if he was to advise the National Treasury to release the money to the devolved units, his office would violate the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act.

“What is clear from the foregoing provisions of the Constitution is that there can be no withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund without the authorisation of Parliament,” said Kihara in a letter to Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye.

 “In our considered opinion, therefore, there is no legal basis under the current legal architecture, upon which the National Treasury can administratively advance funds to the county governments.”

The letter, which is also copied to Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka and his National Assembly counterpart Justin Muturi, the Principal Government Legal Adviser said under the Constitution, there could be no expenditure from the consolidated fund without parliament’s authorisation.

Nevertheless, the AG has backed proposals by the National Assembly’s budget committee to amend the Public Finance Management Act so as to facilitate the release of the guaranteed 15 per cent share of national revenue to counties.

In that regard, he has recommended that lawmakers cut short their break, to deliberate on the proposed changes to the law.

More on News