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Counties

Elachi’s bid to block Assembly Clerk from CBK accounts flops

Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi
Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi has suffered a blow in her attempt to remove Clerk Jacob Ngwele as a signatory to the House’s accounts at the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

This is after CBK, through its counsel Kennedy Abuga, made it clear that Mr Ngwele is the duly recognised mandate holder for the accounts.

The move came after CBK raised concern over several letters from Ms Elachi, who fell out with Mr Ngwele, seeking the deactivation of the mandates for the Clerk and others. She wanted them replaced with new mandate holders.

“In August 2015, Mr Jacob Ngwele Muvengei was duly introduced as a CBK mandate holder. Any changes in the mandates can only be effected in accordance with the law,” read the July 16 letter by Mr Abuga.

The letter is addressed to Ms Elachi and Mr Ngwele and copied to Solicitor-General Ken Ogeto and Nairobi County Finance CEC Allan Igambi.

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The blow comes hot in the heels of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) affirming that Mr Ngwele is in office legally and his appointment as Clerk of the assembly was within the law.

Ms Elachi had attempted to introduce the assembly’s principal accountant Sammy Ndana and senior finance officer Paul Kimani as authorisers and signatories to the three assembly accounts held at CBK.

However, Mr Abuga pointed out that Section 148(4) of the Public Finance Management Act provides that the clerk of a county assembly is the accounting officer of the assembly and as such, the sole official with mandate to operate and issue instructions to CBK relating to the assembly bank accounts at CBK.

Mr Abuga observed that having different signatories would cause confusion, weaken controls and potentially lead to loss of public funds

“The CBK will continue to deal with, and act on instructions from the legal mandate holders for the assembly accounts,” he said.

To guard against any loss of public funds, the counsel said that going forward, mandate holders will be required to physically present themselves to the Bank and authenticate in person, any instructions they have presented to CBK for action.

“CBK will not accept any communication or messages relating to the accounts held, if not from the authorised mandate holders,” he said.

On July 14, 2020, Speaker Elachi obtained temporary order from the Employment and Labour Relations court directing the CBK to reinstate Mr Ndana and Mr Kimani as authorisers and signatories to the accounts.

The case is still in court and will be heard on August 3.

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