Mechanics in Kilifi have threatened to auction motor vehicles belonging to the County Government to recover millions of shillings owed to them for repairs.
They say they will sue the county government for the 25 vehicles in order to recover Sh40 million debt incurred over the last three years.
The Kilifi County Garage Association (KCGA) chairman, Ignatius Luvati, said some of the vehicles to be auctioned include fire engines and ambulances that have been in their garages since 2014.
“The vehicles have been detained across the 22 garages in the county as a result of pending bills that total to about Sh40 million after our plea for payment to the county government fell on deaf ears,” he said Thursday.
Some of the garages threatening to sue include Ryan Auto Works, Bodo Auto Accessories, Daju Auto works, Concorde Motors, Kevula, Vegos, Samwhely, Japro and Ndimu Investment among others.
“It is through continuous meetings and discussions that we resorted to have an appointment with Governor Amason Kingi to address grievances to settle the issue,” he added.
Mr Ronald Charo, the association secretary, said its representatives met the county boss at his official residence during campaigns and it was agreed that they be paid before August.
“After two days, some of the debts totalling about Sh5 million were paid,” he said adding that this was despite the county finance chief officer Ben Kai saying funds had been processed to settle the debt within the agreed time.
KCGA treasurer, David Kaluche, questioned why the debt has taken more than two years to settle despite being given Local Purchase Order numbers, which according to them means that funds have already been processed for payment.
“Most of us have rent the garages and delay of payment means we are running our businesses at a loss,” he said.
On his part, Mr Kai faulted the Sh40 million debt quoted by the garage association, saying they had paid about Sh5 to Sh10 million before being locked out by the financial deadline period.
“We reprocessed payment of the remaining Sh20 million after being locked by September 30 deadline which also affected development projects,” he told the Business Daily, saying the National Treasury is currently releasing funds for salary payment only.
Mr Kai said officials from the county finance department have met Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich, in Nairobi to solve the finance problem that has paralysed numerous operations in the county.
“Other than salaries, we are unable to process other payments but we hope things will fall into place by next week,” he said.
He said payments in relation to garages, security, cleaning among others operations in the devolved unit have also stalled due to lack of funds.