The Independence of Bungoma County Assembly is under threat from Executive Overreach in a bid to evade accountability.
The Assembly speaker Emmanuel Situma says that the executive is trying to intimidate them into submission something that won’t be accepted.
“The County Assembly has full Confidence in the Senate as a neutral arbiter to resolve its impasse with the Executive and ensure uninterrupted cash flows,” said Situma in a press release.
He added that “The Assembly fully supports the amendment of the PFM Act that will ensure to financial autonomy,”.
The Speaker said that the County Assembly will not relent in carrying outs its cardinal duties of Legislation, Representation and Oversight and it will stand with the public to ensure equity, fairness and justice for all.
“The County Assembly will keep an eye on the Executive to ensure funds are used for intended purposes. Public funds must be spent in line with the laid down law,” he said.
The press release further stated that no amount of bribery, witch-hunt, propaganda, denial of funds and defiance from the County Executive will shake the resolve of the County Assembly to carry out Oversightand ensure checks and balances.
Situma lodged a complaint at the Senate via a letter dated 3rd June, 2021.
The subject matter was, “Deliberate attempts by the Governor and CECM Finance to deny the County Assembly its revenue allocation.
The same was received in the Senate on 3rd June.
The letter highlighted issues such as refusal by the Chief Officer Finance to approve Exchequer requests for the County Assembly.
It also condemned the actions to reject the requests or drastically reduce the same had made it impossible for the Assembly to pay salaries, suppliers, and allowances due.
The senate invited both the County Assembly and the County Executive to appear before it on Monday 14th June, 2021.
The County Assembly team led by the Speaker appeared but the Governor wrote a letter seeking a different date citing his busy schedule.
The Senate resolved to summon the Governor and his team to appear before it on Thursday 24th June, 2021.
Once again, the Governor sought a virtual meeting citing the upsurge in Corona infections in the country.
Critical issues that called for further interrogation emerged during thevirtual meeting following a presentation by the Controller of budget.
A physical meeting involving all parties was held on Monday 28th, 2021 in the Senate Chamber.
During the meeting yesterday, it was noted as follows
1. That the County Assembly of Bungoma has only received salaries for April and May (months in contention before the Senate). That no other money has been released for any other payments.
2. The Speaker submitted that the lack of funds for operations and payment of suppliers had made it impossible for the County Assembly to run. Essential services such as water andelectricity are currently disconnected at the County Assembly.
3. Majimbo Okumu submitted that the non release of funds for the months incontention was as a result of a motion of impeachment against the Governor that was signed by 44 MCAS. He added that the Governor told the Clerk that he had instructed his officers not to approve any funds for the County Assembly.
4. The Speaker submitted that during the two months, the County Executive has continued to draw funds for payment of salaries and other operations uninterrupted.
5. The Governor in his submissions indicated that there are no deliberate attempts to deny the County Assembly money and that their Exchequer requests had been approved and money will be at the County Assembly soon.
6. The Senate committee chair indicated that there is an amendment on the PFM Act to free County Assemblies across the country from Executive overreach.
7. The Senate Committee said it will retreat soon to write a report that will be laid before the Senate for further action.