NAIROBI—A petition challenging the budget passed by the County Assembly mid this year risk an injuction by the court if prayer by two Wajir County suppliers sails through.
Rashid Adow Shahu and Mohamed Guhad Mohamed, through Angaya & Company Advocates say the County Government of Wajir passed the Wajir Finance Act, 2023 without carrying out public participation as stipulated under the constitution.
According to the court papers, the petitioners stated that on diverse date, “they rendered services on creditor to Wajir County and between themselves they are owed over Kshs. 20,000,000/=.”
“It is the petitioners and other services provides gravamen that Wajir County totally left them out of the process leading to the enactment of the Act and in particular they were not consulted on the budget allocation of pending bills which has now stood in arrears since 2018 as there was no public participation, a requirement embodied in the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 and the doctrines of reasonableness and legitimate expectation,” the petition initially lodged at Nairobi but later moved to Garissa, says in part.
The lawyers are seeking the matter certified as urgent and heard on a priority basis “on the ground that the budget for 2023/24 financial year was irregularly passed.”
“There is an imminent likelihood that there will be colossal sums of moneys belonging to the tax payers that are at a risk of being wasted,” the advocates said in their submission.
It added: “That the last financial year the 1st Respondent (Wajir County Government) allocated a budget of Kshs. 500M to settle pending bills but the said amount was never paid out.”
The petitioners want the budget implementation halted “in the interests of justice that this honourable court does intervene to forestall the loss of public funds and further ameliorate huge losses imminently facing private suppliers who rendered products and services to the County of Wajir.”
In it’s replying affidavit through Gedi and Associates Company, the County Government urgued that: “The honorable court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the application and petition as they do not raise any constitutional issue since the dispute is a contractual/commercial one and ought to be litigated in a commercial/civil court.”
The respondents also insisted that: “the matter herein is sub judice in nature as there are proceedings currently ongoing in the High Court at Garissa all touching on Constitutionality of the Wajir County Finance Act 2023.”
In a ruling delivered on 24th August by Justice Ong’udi of the Garissa High Court, both parties were given two weeks to make their submission. The matter will be mentioned on 11th September for further directions.
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