FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11TH JUNE 2021
Embu Ward Representatives will not embark on consideration of the 2021/2022 Financial Year’s budget until proper scrutiny of all the county’s pending bills is done.
County Assembly Speaker Josiah Thiriku ordered the County Executive to submit within two weeks, all paid and unpaid pending bills to the legislature for scrutiny to establish authenticity of the huge debts. He also directed Assembly Clerk Jim Kauma to immediately inform the Executive of the ruling.
Deputy Speaker Steve Simba, while terming pending bills as an “elephant in the room” stated that the Assembly needed to authenticate and ensure that only genuine debts are paid. He said the Assembly would be visiting all 20 wards to ensure that only complete projects would be paid.
The Liaison Committee Chairman who is also the MCA for Runyenjes Central ward declared that the Assembly would also be inspecting previously paid pending bills to allay suspicion of ghost projects having been allocated money. He added that this was geared towards achieving accountability.
Majority Leader Michael Njeru lamented that the County Executive had blatantly refused to avail copies of pending bills to enable the Assembly to formulate a phased payment structure, since the county could not afford to clear all debts at once.
The Kithimu MCA supported calls to have every Sectoral Committee at the Assembly examine the pending bills for their line dockets before deliberating on the 2021/2022 county budget. He said non-payment of local contractors was hurting the Embu economy. The county has pending bills dating as far back as 2018.
And while wondering why the County Executive ignores projects budgeted for by the Assembly and chooses to irregularly implement new ones outside the budget, Muminji MCA Newton Kariuki stated that he would not be used as a rubberstamp to sanitise illegalities through Supplementary Budgets.
Kariuki’s sentiments were echoed by his Evurore ward counterpart Duncan Mbui who said the Executive ought to explain how expenditure was incurred outside the budget, therefore resulting in huge pending bills. Mbui said a thorough analysis of pending bills would reveal shocking pilferage.
Makima MCA Phillip Nzangi also said he did not understand the rationale for paying for projects that were alien to the Assembly and leaving genuine pending bills unpaid. He further expressed the need for the Assembly to maintain its dignity by upholding fiscal prudence in budgeting.
Mavuria MCA Ngari Mbaka observed that over Ksh 300 Million had been spent to pay a few big regional contractors who had done unbudgeted projects while hundreds of local contractors who did small legal jobs were left unpaid. He said the cartels at the procurement department had to end.
The leaders were speaking at the County Assembly Chambers during a plenary sitting to consider a report by the Liaison Committee on the first Supplementary Budget of the 2020/2021 Financial Year.