Siaya county assembly stamped its authority in the budget making process when it forced area governor to drop his flagship projects before passing a shs8 billion supplementary budget.
In what appeared to be a slap in the face for the area governor, Cornel Rasanga, the members of the county assembly reinstated a sh30 million development fund for each ward that the governor had withdrawn in an earlier budget.
The move forced the executive to drop its attempt to slash money for purchase of drugs and other medical supplies to the public health facilities to boost travelling and accommodation allowances.
Other areas that the assembly restored on the budget includes a sh7.5 million women empowerment fund and a similar amount for youth empowerment.
The members, in a sitting presided over by the speaker of the county assembly, George Okode also reinstated a sh29 million waste management fund that had earlier been proposed for scrapping in an earlier supplementary estimate.
Tabling the supplementary budget to the assembly last evening, the chairman of the budget and appropriations committee, Sylvester Madialo said the county government will spend a total of sh8, 303,078,019 which is an increment of sh1, 295, 486, 825 from the June 28, 2018 budget that the assembly earlier approved.
He said 55 percent of the budget will go towards recurrent expenditure with the remainder, 45 percent going to operations and maintenance.
Madialo who is also the Usonga MCA said the executive had in an earlier supplementary estimates placed before the assembly in November, sought to introduce new projects that were not part of other planning documents such as the upgrading of national government roads to bitumen standards.
“Equally, they had proposed to totally eliminate projects worth over sh1 billion. These projects were captured in the planning documents, subjected to public participation and in some instances, were projects proposed by the public,” he said.
In proposing amendments to the supplementary estimates, the budget and appropriations committee noted that the executive had sought to introduce new projects worth over sh1 billion but noted that the projects did not qualify to be categorised as either “unforeseen” or “unavoidable” which is the criteria allowed by the law.
Further, the committee added, the projects were never subjected to public participation as legally required.
The committee faulted the county Treasury of presenting documents that had glaring discrepancies with what the assembly approved in June and also failing to provide necessary documents to support their request for the budget.
Contributing to the motion, the MCAs said they had to do what was right for Siaya and will not allow money to be allocated for phony projects.
Central Alego MCA, Leonard Oriaro said the earlier supplementary budget had sought to allocate money for roads that had already been rehabilitated by the national government’s Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA).
“Among these roads were those around Lake Kanyaboli that had been rehabilitated” he asserted adding that the same executive had also sought to have money set aside to pay for a water project that had allegedly been rolled over from the previous financial year.
He claimed that while the truth was that more than sh4 million had been budgeted for the water project, nothing was there to show on the ground.
The MCAs accused Siaya members of parliament of trying to meddle into the affairs of the assembly by siding with the executive whenever they tried to perform their duty of oversight.
They said it was unfortunate that even Orange Democratic Movement leader, Raila Odinga who hails from the county had been taken hostage by a clique that thrives on misinformation in an attempt to blackmail the assembly into keeping quiet as public funds were misappropriated.
The county assembly has, for close to two months, been locked in a tussle with the office of governor Cornel Rasanga over the supplementary budget.
The governor had sought to reduce crucial expenditure to finance what he termed as his legacy projects, among them the tarmacking of some roads.
Members of the executive and the assembly have been using every forum to throw barbs at each other, with the executive accusing MCAs of sabotaging development.
The MCAs on the other hand, accused the executive of running cartels that fleeced the county of public funds without carrying out development on the ground apart from projects where the national government has a hand.
By Philip Onyango