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County Reps in bid to review Ward Fund bill

The Nairobi County Assembly is set to make amendments on a bill seeking to create a ward development fund to ensure it conforms with the Constitution.

The Assembly is seeking the assistance of the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) to advise them on the amendments.

A key amendment will be to remove a clause that gave powers to the county representative to be in charge of the fund which the Controller of Budget, Ms Agnes Odhiambo declared illegal as it was against the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act.

That power will now be bestowed on a committee elected by the residents in a ward with the Member of County Assembly remaining as an ex-official member.

The Leader of the Majority in the Assembly, Mr Elias Otieno, said on Monday that the amendments will likely be passed next week once the House reconvenes.

The Assembly adjourned last week to allow the MCAs attend a conference in Mombasa which brings together ward reps from all the 47 counties.

“We are bringing in the CIC to advise us on the amendments to ensure that the bill conforms with the law. Once that is done we will be ready to confront those introducing politics in to the matter”, Mr Otieno said in a telephone interview.

Last month, the Assembly passed the Nairobi City County Development Fund Bill, 2014, that authorized the county to set aside five per cent of all its revenue to be used in financing development projects in all the 85 wards in the area. 

According to the bill, the revenue is to be used in projects identified by a ward development committee presided over by the area’s MCA. Each ward was supposed to get Sh16 million this financial year.

But Ms Odhiambo threw a spanner into the works by saying she would not approve such expenses when the county presents its budget because it was against the law. 

Attempts by governor Evans Kidero to put the fund under his finance executive member as well as failure to defend it does not seem to have gone down well with the MCAs who threatened not to approve any bills from his office.

Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko also weighed in accusing the Dr Kidero of sabotaging a noble development idea.