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Kakamega MCAs sue assembly staff over unremitted mortgage benefits :: Kenya

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Kakamega MCAs protest at the assembly after ejecting their speaker Maurice Buluma. They have sued county officials for failing to disburse Sh3 million meant for mortgage benefit and car loan. [Photo, File]

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Kakamega MCAs have sued the Speaker, Clerk and other senior staff at the County Assembly for failing to disburse Sh3 million meant for each MCA as mortgage benefit and car loan.

The petition filed by three MCAs and signed by 67 others in support seeks orders compelling the respondents disburse the money with immediate effect.

The petitioner say they are afraid their term may come to an end without the benefits which they are legally entitled to.

MCAs Jackline Mwakha (nominated), Walter Maube (Butsotso South) and Josephat Mwasame (Kongoni) swore they are serving their second year of the five-year term yet the respondents through acts of omission and commission have denied them the benefits

Under a certificate of urgency, the MCAs affirm an audit report for the year 2014/2015 shows the County Assembly received Sh644,462,126 from the County Treasury to cover the Mortgage Fund according to the Salaries and Remunerations Commission (SRC) circular.

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The money was deposited into a Revolving Fund which enabled their predecessors receive Sh440 million which was disbursed to their individual accounts.

Through lawyer Charles Malalah, the petitioners aver the money was never recovered due to poor documentation and follow up on the side of the respondents.

“Due to poor records, it became impossible for even the Auditor General (AG) to estimate exactly how much of the disbursed loan made it back to the revolving fund. This is despite all the regulations and guidelines by SRC directing the management of the fund as to proper ways of ensuring the loans were repaid through a payroll deduction system,” read the petition in part.

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The MCAs have sued embattled County Speaker (Maurice Buluma), Clerk of the Assembly (Patrick Wafula), his Deputy (John Simwa), head of legal (Lawrence Were) and Assembly’s Principal Accountant (Pascal Mwanje).

Other respondents are Nephat Mbati (Internal Auditor), Laban Maloba (Head of Finance) and Beatrice Ilavonga (Principal Fiscal Analyst) whom the petitioners insist concertedly led to the misappropriation of the funds.

According to court documents, the MCAs say they are supposed to repay the loans four months before the expiry of their terms as per the Public Finance Management-Kakamega County Assembly-Car Loans and Mortgage Fund) which may be hampered if monies are not remitted immediately.

The have asked the court to give a declaration extending their repayment period.

“If the repayment period is mot extended and the monthly repayment amount increases by a certain amount to cover the shorter period, then the excess amount payable per month should be borne by the Respondents individually or by the County Assembly since such burden would be punitive to the petitioners.”

The Members want the court to issue orders directing the Family Bank Manager, Kakamega Branch to supply all monthly payments for the account operated by the County Assembly for the Car and Mortgage Loan Scheme.

The matter was certified as urgent and slated for a mention for December 5 before High Court Judge William Musyoka.

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