NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27- The government says it will not pay a fresh demand for more than Sh3 billion by Anglo Leasing firms after making the initial payment of Sh1.4 billion.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich says the government is prepared for a rigorous legal battle to dispute the fresh demand so as to protect tax payers’ money.
“No, we are not making any other payment. This is a disputed debt; it may find its way again to the courts and we will battle it again if it does go there,” he said. “If Judgement is put against us we will face the challenge. But as we stand now we are not paying any other debt.”
Rotich said the Sh1.4 billion was a struggle to pay as the government had to squeeze in some of the funds already allocated to projects to add onto the money from the contingency fund.
“As you know we are coming to the end of the financial year and there are some expenditure which have not taken off like the laptop project….and if the project has not started now, we reallocate to another priority. This is how we raised the Sh1.4 billion,” Rotich said adding that the changes will be captured in the Supplementary Budget II.
The CS was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the 2014 Leasing Convention at the Kenya School Monetary Studies (KSMS) on Tuesday.
The payment of the initial demand after a court order has generated heated controversy from the opposition and the civil society which accuse President Uhuru Kenyatta of wasting public funds to pay ghost firms.
But Rotich maintains that it was prudent for the government to pay the money, adding that it would have cost the tax payer Sh260,000 per day in interest if the debt was not settled.
“Even if you continue with the debate, at some point we would have been forced to pay the money plus these costs. It was a judgement debt, it was already placed on us whether we paid now or five years down the line,” he said.
Making the fresh Sh3 billion demand last week, businessman Anura Perrera who is linked to the firms that received Sh1.4 billion through a UK law company claimed that the money was for another pending project at the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
Perrera is linked to First Mercantile and Universal Satspace companies, which received the initial payment from the Kenya government.