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Counties

Samboja in Taita Taveta dissolution bid over budget

Granton Samboja
Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja when he appeared before a Senate committee last August. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG 

Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja has signed a memorandum to dissolve the county government over a budget impasse with members of the county assembly (MCAs).

Addressing the media in Wundanyi on Tuesday, Mr Samboja said the move was necessitated by wrangles over Sh830 million that the MCAs allocated themselves through the Ward Development Fund.

Last week, the county assembly passed a Sh5.3 billion budget with each member allocating themselves Sh41.5 million for projects in their wards. The governor, however, declined to assent to the 2019-20 budget. In moving to petition President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve the assembly, Mr Samboja said the wrangles were adversely affecting development and vowed not to give in to the MCAs demands.

"There are no medicines in county health facilities. Water is a challenge to many residents yet they (MCAs) want to allocate themselves huge sums of money," he said.

He termed their move as illegal as most of the county’s flagship projects will not be completed as per the County Integration Development Plan.

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He refuted claims that the county government has set aside Sh224 million to pay ghost workers, saying the county has 1,200 casual staff whose contracts cannot be terminated.

Mr Samboja said the staff are nurses and Early Childhood Education (ECD) teachers.

"In fact we have a shortage of nurses in this county. We cannot afford to send them home because the ones we have are not enough," he said.

On the other hand, the county assembly has accused the executive of using the budget to pay ghost workers.

The Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee chairperson Christopher Mwambingu said they will initiate a headcount to weed out all ghost workers from the payroll.

"We cannot use Sh224 million to pay ghost workers. This money could be used to do other development projects for residents," he said.

Majority leader Jason Tuja said the county executive failed to show up when summoned by the assembly over the budgetary allocations. "We waited for them but they refused to attend to clarify some of their spending," he said.

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