Storm brewing at City Hall over MCAs delayed December salaries
A showdown is looming between Nairobi MCAs and the Executive over the deliberate delay in by the latter to process Sh56 million December salaries for the ward representatives and assembly staff.
But the Executive has blamed the power struggle at the assembly for the delay in the payment of the salaries.
At the centre of the impasse is City Hall Finance Executive Pauline Kahiga who has been accused by the MCAs of deliberately blocking the payment of the salaries. They now want her removed from the position.
Ms Kahiga is alleged to have refused to sign and forward documents that would have resulted in the release of the funds by the Central Bank of Kenya.
Speaker Beatrice Elachi said they reached out to Ms Kahiga on December 24, 2019 to effect the payments but she allegedly left without giving any word to the assembly concerning the payments.
She stated that the Executive has no right to deny the assembly salaries adding they will not be intimidated or blackmailed by the Executive while carrying out their oversight mandate.
“Why should the CEC for Finance fail to sign Form C which is needed for money to be released by CBK? We looked for her on December 24 but she left without giving a word to the assembly in regard to the payment. The Executive should not impose duties and oversight us, we are mandated to oversight them,” said Ms Elachi.
Adding to the fire, Minority Leader David Mberia accused Ms Kahiga of being biased in executing her role by only processing salaries for the Executive side and intentionally leaving out the assembly.
PAYMENT OF SALARIES
“We went for holidays without salaries reason being the CEC deliberately refused to sign and forward a form to Central Bank to release money to pay our salaries.
“She chose to pay herself and staff of the Executive but not us and our staff. This is a mockery yet we are the ones who appropriate the funds the Executive use to run their affairs,” added the Karen Ward MCA.
Mr Mberia’s sentiments were echoed by Majority Whip June Ndegwa who said: “She is incompetent. How do you go on holiday without paying people their salaries? We are aware that she came back and paid the executive side and this just shows how MCAs are degraded.”
For any payment of the salaries, a requisition for money is done by the Finance CEC through a letter, form A, to the Controller of Budget. CoB responds through, Form B, approving the expenditure. The CEC then writes a letter, Form C, to CBK attaching the Form B requesting for release of the money. CBK then disburses the approved amount to relevant accounts.
Form C is signed by the Chief Officer for Finance or Head of County Treasury but has to also be signed and forwarded to CBK by the Finance Executive.
Any delay can only come in if the Finance CEC refuses to sign and forward Form C or the assembly delays in loading its payroll on IFMIS.
Efforts to reach Ms Kahiga were futile as she neither responded to our calls nor text messages.
However, acting County Secretary Leboo Morintat defended the Executive putting the blame squarely at the office of the clerk of the assembly.
“The assembly have their own account but they just requested us to help them with the salaries. However, the request coincided with the holidays. The problem is the clerk as he did not hand over the assembly’s IFMIS credentials after he was removed from office,” said Mr Morintat.
When contacted for comment, Assembly Clerk Jacob Ngwele defended himself saying that an attempt by Speaker Elachi to change the signatories to the assembly’s IFMIS account as well as illegally appointing a junior officer, who cannot be allowed to incur such expenditure, as acting clerk.
The embattled clerk added that the changes also caused similar delays in payment of October and November salaries.
“This is the first time since 2013 that MCAs and staff have gone for Christmas without their salaries. This is because Elachi has refused to obey five court orders directing I resume my duties by locking me out of office. The law clearly states that the clerk is the only accounting officer given the authority to incur expenditure on behalf of the assembly,” said Mr Ngwele.
However, Ms Elachi refuted the accusations by Mr Ngwele saying the delay had nothing to do with the office of the clerk pointing out that since she came back in October last year, such a scenario had not been witnessed.