MPs take Rotich to task over Sh6 billion CDF cut

Mr Rotich: Focus is on critical areas. FILE
Mr Rotich: Focus is on critical areas. FILE PHOTO | NMG  Mr Rotich: Focus is on critical areas. FILE PHOTO | NMG

MPs have put Treasury secretary Henry Rotich to task for chopping off Sh6 billion that was allocated to the Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) this financial year.

Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lesonet, who chaired the CDF committee in the 11th Parliament, said the Treasury had cut Sh6.1 billion from the CDF and directed Sh5.7 billion to pay owners of Lake Turkana Wind Power Project.

The cash to 300-megawatt Lake Turkana Wind is compensation to its owners for delay in building power lines to allow the sale of the cheaper electricity.

“I have seen a significant reduction in CDF under the Supplementary Budget. You know how emotive that will be. You are effecting the cut when the money has already been distributed to fund projects identified in the constituencies and the horse has already bolted,” Mr Lesonet told Mr Rotich during the scrutiny of the mini-budget.

Mr Rotich said an earlier court order informed the cut on CDF budget to Sh25.5 billion from the earlier allocation of Sh31.56 billion.

This means that cash available for each constituency will be reduced to Sh87.9 million from Sh108.8 million.

The High Court in June 2016 ruled that MPs can only access up to Sh25 billion being 2.5 per cent of the total annual revenue collected by the national government.

“We are left with Sh25 billion down from initial figure (Sh31.56 billion) in the budget because of funding constraints,” Mr Rotich said.

“Because we have not resolved issues of funding, the Sh25 billion is based on a Court Order that capped CDF allocation until the matter is fully resolved.  That provided us room to fund critical expenditures of elections.”

He added that the Treasury will be able to disburse the money to the 290 constituencies once the CDF board makes requisition for funding.

Supreme Court ruling on September 1 annulled President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election and ordered a fresh contest, now scheduled for Oct. 26.

IEBC needs Sh10 billion for the repeat poll.

Mr Lesonet challenged the Treasury to explain whether the 2016 court order is still in force saying it lapsed last year.

“The orders lapsed. It was in respect of last financial year. If the reduction in the CDF amount was based on that order to take Sh5.9 billion from CDF, the order has lapsed and I ask you to reconsider returning our money,” he said.

Mr Rotich said he will need to get the details on whether the court order had lapsed.