Counties

Sonko mulls suing MCAs in battle for Sh37bn budget row with Badi

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Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

MCAs on Tuesday shot down reservations the governor raised against the county’s Sh37.5 billion budget, approving the earlier budget the assembly passed last month.

A total of 88 ward representatives, more than the required two-thirds majority, voted to reject the governor’s memorandum in the process returning the Nairobi City County Appropriation Bill, 2020 to the governor for assent.

However, governor’s spokesperson, Ben Mulwa, has now accused the county legislators of killing devolution through a “backdoor budget”.

The battle for Nairobi County annual budget could be headed to court with Governor Mike Sonko maintaining that the rejection of his memorandum “does not cure illegalities in the budget”.

MCAs on Tuesday shot down reservations the governor raised against the county’s Sh37.5 billion budget, approving the earlier budget the assembly passed last month.

A total of 88 ward representatives, more than the required two-thirds majority, voted to reject the governor’s memorandum in the process returning the Nairobi City County Appropriation Bill, 2020 to the governor for assent.

However, governor’s spokesperson, Ben Mulwa, has now accused the county legislators of killing devolution through a “backdoor budget”.

Mr Mulwa argued that the MCAs passed a budget that essentially ‘kills’ the county government by denying its residents an opportunity to enjoy services other counties offer.

“The fact that they rejected the memorandum does not cure the illegalities that the governor pointed out. The governor is still consulting his legal team and looking at options. But any Nairobi resident can now move to court to challenge the process,” he said.

The budget allocated Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Sh27.1 billion with City Hall remaining with a paltry Sh8.4 billion and the rest going to the county assembly.

The spokesperson accused the MCAs of letting down city residents by allocating money meant for the county to an entity which did not exist in law.

He pointed out that the budgeting process violated articles 5.2 and 5.3 of the Deed of Transfer of Functions. The articles provide that the national government in consultation with the county shall determine the funding for each transferred function.

Mr Mulwa said even if Mr Sonko signs the bill and it is gazetted, the NMS will find it hard to access the money from the County Revenue Fund account with the Treasury last month, saying there is no legal framework that allows county funds to be transferred to the national government.