Hope at last for the Embu County’s financial fix
A long-standing financial stalemate pitting the Embu County Executive against the county assembly may soon be over after a four-man mediation committee agreed on settlement terms.
The deadlock over the supplementary budget was occasioned by a court case filed by two Embu residents opposing the construction of a Sh335 million county assembly office complex.
Speaker Kariuki Mate declined to have the budget debated because contained Sh35 million as the initial payment for the building and such deliberations would expose him to contempt of court proceedings for presiding over the debate of an issue that is before the court.
This has caused a financial crisis in the county as monies that were not spent during the 2014/2015 Fiscal Year cannot be accessed without passage through a supplementary budget.
However, a team comprising of County Secretary Raymond Njagi and County Executive Committee member in charge of Finance John Njagi on the side of the executive, together with Clerk Jim Kauma and Budget and Appropriations Chairman Joseph Mwaniki from the Assembly met in Nairobi on 12 November and agreed that all stumbling blocks impeding the budgetary process would be cleared before the end of the year.
The team agreed that the petition filed in court was a valid impediment to the consideration of the Supplementary Budget and that it should be withdrawn to expedite the budget-making process.
Should the petitioners not wish to withdraw the case, the mediation team agreed that the county assembly should be enjoined as an interested party to help resolve the issues in question.
The assembly on the other hand has been urged to take immediate measures to have the Supplementary Budget concluded soon after the legal teams of the two arms of the county government manage to get the existing expert orders barring the assembly’s construction lifted.
The mediation team also seeks to have the speaker and Governor Martin Wambora meet in the presence of their lawyers to work out modalities of proceeding with the budgetary issues and the MCA office complex.
The team has advised the Governor and the Speaker to jointly, through their legal teams, request the court to expedite the case that has stalled the supplementary budget in order to see its earliest conclusion and consequently unlock the financial impasse in Embu County.
By Antony Ndwigah
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