Nairobi News


Sakaja’s effort to settle Nairobi’s Sh1.4 billion bills thwarted

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja and his County Executive Committee (CEC) member for Finance Charles Kerich have been dealt a major blow after the Controller of Budget (COB) rejected their request to approve the payment of legal fees.

In a letter dated June 29 and addressed to Mr Kerich, COB Dr Margaret Nyakang sought clarification from the county on the demands on its treasury amounting to Sh1, 447,137,991.

Dr Nyakang’o said Article 228(5) empowers her office not to approve any withdrawal from a public fund unless it is satisfied that the withdrawal is in accordance with the law.

The Controller of Budget wants the county to provide clarification on the first requisition submitted to her office by the county on June 19 for Sh1, 068,277,305. The first requisition was to be paid to two law firms, which included Sh562, 124,660 and Sh509, 152,645 to another firm.

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The COB said the county did not provide the Pending Bills Payment Plan, which would have enabled the matching of individual payees to the requisition.

“Furthermore, it is difficult to reconcile the proposed payments with the Pending Bills Report previously submitted to this office,” said Dr Nyakang’o.

She asked the county to provide the basis of the legal fees by providing the status of each case including copies of judgment.

Secondly, the county has been asked to provide the criteria that they used to arrive to the payment of the fees to certain firms, and to provide the information on whether the proposed payment is a part payment or a final payments to the legal firms.

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The second requisition was submitted to the COB by the county on June 20th, requesting for the payment of Sh378, 860, 686 of development expenditure.

Dr Nyakang’o said the second requisition of payment of 19 firms does not include the invoices’ dates, making her office difficult to ascertain whether they are pending bills or related to the works done and invoiced in the last financial year.

“Please, therefore, revise the schedule to include the date of the invoices, and attached copies of the payment vouchers for the 19 firms.”

Out of the total pending bills of Nairobi County, Sh21 billion are legal fees owed to owed to 300 law firms that provided legal services to city government.

When Governor Sakaja took office late last year, he promised to probe pending bills for legal fees first, a move that saw him forming a taskforce to audit them.

Kileleshwa MCA Mr Robert Alai recently addressed the office of the Assembly Speaker seeking statement from the Finance Committee regarding the ongoing probing of the legal fees by the governor’s taskforce.

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