NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 4 – National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich has been barred from releasing over Sh25 billion allocated to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in this year’s budget.
Justice Joseph Onguto gave the direction in a suit filed by members of the Civil Society and activists who moved to the High Court seeking to block Rotich from allocating funds to the CDF to be used in the 2016/2017 financial year.
Justice Onguto further directed that a bench be empanelled to hear substantive petition.
The MPs had last month threatened to disapprove the 2016/2017 Financial Year Sh2.3 trillion budget until they get the billions despite CDF being termed unconstitutional.
The MPs forced Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso to suspend the sitting to allow them to hold an informal sitting referred to as ‘Speaker’s Kamukunji’ after they turned chaotic on learning that two civil society groups had returned to court to stop the funds.
READ: Lawmakers threaten to impede budget over CDF
In the suit civil societies led by The Institute of Social Accountability (TISA) want the 290 MPs blocked from having any role in the management of the CDF and wants the money channelled to counties to be managed by governors.
The case has since been joined by the Council of Governors who argue that the fund interferes with the counties’ equitable share.
But the Members of the National Assembly claimed the 47 governors have been unable to properly manage and carry out any substantial projects with millions of shillings allocated to them in the counties.
The legislators have further accused the county bosses of teaming up with the civil society to frustrate the implementation of projects under the devolved fund and eventually wrestle it from them.
TISA is seeking nullification of the National Government Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Act on grounds that it gives MPs powers to appoint and approve persons to sit on the fund’s board at the constituency level.
They also contend that there is no clear separation between the roles of national and county governments on the management of CDF.
TISA last year secured a court order declaring that CDF was unconstitutional. The MPs were forced to amend the CDF Act to create the NGCDF but civil society groups have returned to argue the Act is still unconstitutional.