, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 16 – An official from Nakuru has disclosed that the county collected over Sh9.8 million in fines from the Municipal Courts between 2013/14 and 2014/15 financial years.
Salome Ng’ang’a, the County Head of Revenue said the Sh3.3 million collected in 2013 and Sh6.5 collected in 2014 were declared within county revenue and went into county projects disputing claims made by a petitioner who had accused Governor Kinuthia Mbugua of extorting small scale businessmen and hawkers.
“When this money was collected we used it in salaries, maintenance and development,” she said.
The county’s Legal adviser Harry Gakinya further disclosed that they had ceased collections since July this year after the Judiciary wrote to the county to stop collecting the monies, but however stated that the funds were now channelled to the Judiciary.
Esther Wanjala, the County’s Legal Officer added that a joint committee between the Council of Governors (CoG) and the Judiciary is currently handling the controversial issue of transition from Municipal Courts to County Courts to ensure the monies collected from the fines and bonds were shared between the two at a set ratio.
“I confirm that the court is fully managed by the Judiciary, the county provides the structure and the registry while the Judiciary provides the magistrate,” she said.
“What is going to happen to the funds that were collected and appropriated now that the judiciary fully collects the money?” posed Senator Mutula Jnr.
“I believe the county did not do anything illegal because the funds were supposed to be in our accounts as per the directive of the Judiciary,” she responded.
Rosemary Njaramba a Legal Officer from the CoG said they would be proposing a Bill to the Senate to deal with the issues which cut across all the counties.
“We have a joint task force between the council and the Judiciary to deal with the transition and the revenue sharing formula because counties are creating laws which have fines…there is a cost in enforcement,” she said.
Kilonzo Jnr then sought to find out whether there were quarterly reports submitted to the assembly indicating the collections since the petitioner who is a Member of the County Assembly had said they were ‘kept in the dark’.
The officials said they presented to the assembly all the reports and had adhered to the law.
Governor Mbugua further called on the Senate to urgently address the pertinent issue of transfer of assets between the former municipal councils and the counties terming it a ‘thorny’ issue.
He said this will help prevent similar petitions over transferable functions and assets even against other counties.
He also disputed accusations by nominated MCA Margaret Kiiru that they were using legislation that had not been gazetted saying the reports were false with Governor Mbugua instead pointing out that some of the Bills he had declined to sign were not consistent with the law and had sent them back to the assembly with memorandums.
“I am very cautious in signing into law these Bills,” he said.
Mbugua was appearing before the Senate Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee over a petition presented to the Senate accusing him of unlawfully establishing and operating Municipal Courts.
In the petition Kiiru questioned who the municipal enforcement officers reported to as they had not been gazetted either as investigative or judicial officials.
She also claimed the courts were used to harass and extort money from small scale traders, hawkers and also unlawfully detain other leaders.
The petitioner’s prayers included that the Senate investigates the legality of the courts and how proceeds collected fines and bonds imposed on accused persons were used.