Tolgos war with MCAs escalates, now heads to the Senate : The Standard

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Elgeyo Marakwet County Governor Alex Tolgos there is enough maize in the Country during a press briefing at the Panafric Hotel accompanied with members of Parliament from the North Rift. [Wilberforce Okwiri/Standard]

The row pitting Governor Alex Tolgos and the county assembly over the signing of the Appropriation Bill, 2019, is far from over after the latter accused the Executive of imprudent spending of development money.

On Tuesday, Speaker Philemon Sabulei said the Executive is becoming ‘rogue’ in its attempt to slash the county legislative arm’s allocation to plug its 2019/2020 fiscal budget unconstitutionally.
The acrimony has been occasioned by a fallout between the two arms, with Tolgos demanding money from the assembly to bridge Sh200 million budget deficit in his administration.
“As at close of 2018/2019 financial year, more than Sh1 billion had not been utilised. The governor must be able to manage the little to justify on increment and avoid admonishing the assembly,” said the Speaker.
SEE ALSO :Noreb counties to ratify a bill to operationalise blocHe said the county assembly received budget proposal with a worrying deficit of more than Sh200 million.
The amount in question was to cover personnel emoluments, provision of staff medical insurance and funds for replacement of critical staff occasioned by natural attrition and retirement.
“By way of memorandum, the County Assembly was requested to address the deficit with no indication on the source of funds for this purpose. What shocked the assembly was the governor’s proposal to have our budget and fill the deficits,” he explained.
“He added; “On the issue of Sh 89 Million for replacement of critical staff occasioned by natural attrition and retirement, why the need for extra allocation for replacement yet funds for these staff have always been provided for in the budget and at no Financial year have there been reduction of personnel emoluments occasioned by the natural attrition and retirement?”
Mr Sabulei said that when Assembly received the Head Count report by the County Public Service Board (CPSB), it called for the payroll for each department.
SEE ALSO :Elgeyo Marakwet on the spot over slow absorption of funds“A comparison of the two revealed that there were employees who are on departmental payroll but were not in the head count report.  On a balance of probability and reasonably without any other explanation, the staff who are in the payroll and not in the CPSB can only be concluded to be ghost workers.  We have directed the relevant committee to delve further into this mystery and table conclusive report to the house,” he stated.
He said the County Assembly performs the function of Oversight, Representation and Legislation among other roles.
“Apart from the staff in the Assembly, there are over 100 Ward staff based in the ward offices, which the executive always forgets to mention. The budgetary ceilings of the County Assembly are based on those functions and is determined by Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA).  The assembly does not allocate itself the ceilings,” said the speaker.
In his statement, the governor Tolgos accused the assembly of introducing side-shows by releasing a report claiming that the county had ghost workers.
He said a Sh12 million staff audit commissioned by the county to weed out ghost workers in 2017-18 financial found a need to increase the county’s work force, noting that the audit found that there were no ghost workers in the county as claimed by a report by ward reps.
SEE ALSO :Tolgos row with MCAs over budget escalatesAccording to Tolgos, the county executive reduced its recurrent operations budget by Sh175 million from Sh535 million to Sh360 million in the 2019-20 financial year.
“I want to request the assembly not to divert attention from our request to allow a reduction in their budget as we have done in the executive, to enable us deliver services to the people of Elgeyo Marakwet,” he said.
Senator Kipchumba Murkomen who is also the leader of majority in the Senate pledged to ask the Senate’s finance and budget committee to look into ways of addressing the scandal.
Murkomen hinted that the county executive and assembly might be required to appear before the senate to shade light over the matter.
“I have asked the Senate’s Finance and Budget Committee to look into the matter urgently and advise the Senate on the way forward. As a Senate we are aware that there are other similar disputes in other counties and we are more than ready to mediate on behalf of the affected parties,” said Murkomen.

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Related Topics
Governor Alex TolgosAppropriation BillMCAsSenate

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