About 35 members of the Kitui County Assembly face a Sh21 million surcharge for the per diem they pocketed during foreign trips after they shot down a supplementary budget that was to regularise the expenditure.
Last Friday, the Members of Country Assembly (MCAs) shot down the supplementary budget in a stand-off with Governor Charity Ngilu, citing a reduction in development allocation and increase in recurrent expenditure.
However, the MCAs seemed unaware that among the items in the mini-budget was a proposal to regularise money they had already spent on travel to Singapore, the UAE, Canada and Malaysia.
County Finance executive member Mary Nguli had in May, in a letter seen by the Business Daily, allowed the Clerk of the assembly, Elijah Mutambuki, to facilitate the MCAs’ travel on condition that the same was regularised in the supplementary budget.
“The purpose of my letter is to inform you of the approval to reallocate funds to foreign travel and payment of legal fees as requested provided that the same is regularised through a supplementary budget before end of this financial year,” Ms Nguli wrote in a letter dated May 15 and addressed to the assembly clerk.
Mr Mutambuki had the same day written to the Finance CEC requesting for reallocation of the funds.
The affected MCAs will now be surcharged between Sh450,000 to Sh610,000 to recover the Sh21.4 million they spent as allowances, air tickets and money paid out to facilitators of various conferences.
A member of the county assembly who requested anonymity said the MCAs hurriedly rejected the supplementary budget to undermine the Executive.
The MCAs fate seems to be sealed since the supplementary was to be passed before the end of 2018-2019 financial year, which elapsed on Saturday, to regularise the expenditure.
The MCAs will also forego another Sh8.6 million allocated to them to help in discharging their mandate.
The supplementary budget had sought to increase allocation to the health department which plans to hire more permanent employees and casual workers to reduce the workload on staff.
The facilities have seen high a number of patients in the last one year following introduction of the county medical insurance scheme for residents and improved services.