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Elachi’s attempt to replace signatory to assembly’s CBK account foiled

Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi has suffered a blow in her attempts to remove Clerk Jacob Ngwele as a signatory to the assembly’s accounts at the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

This is after CBK, through its Counsel Kennedy Abuga, made it clear that Mr Ngwele is the duly recognised mandate holder for the assembly’s accounts at CBK and any change will have to follow the due process of the law.

MANDATE HOLDERS

The move came after CBK raised concern over several letters from Elachi seeking the deactivation of the mandates for Mr Ngwele and other mandate holders, and a further introduction of new persons as mandate holders.

“In August 2015, Mr Jacob Ngwele Muvengei was duly introduced as a CBK mandate holder. Any changes in the mandates can only be effected in accordance with the law,” read in part the July 16, 2020 letter by Mr Abuga.

The letter is addressed to Ms Elachi and Mr Ngwele and further copied to Solicitor General Ken Ogeto and Nairobi County Finance CEC Allan Igambi.

This comes hot in the heels of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) affirming that Mr Ngwele is in office legally and his appointment as clerk of the assembly was within the law.

Ms Elachi had attempted to introduce the assembly’s principal accountant Sammy Ndana and senior finance officer Paul Kimani as authorisers and signatories to the three assembly accounts held at CBK.

CONFUSING LETTERS

However, Mr Abuga pointed out that according to the law – Section 148(4) of the Public Finance Management Act, which provides that the clerk of a county assembly is the accounting officer of the assembly and as such, the sole official with mandate to operate and issue instructions to CBK relating to the assembly bank accounts at CBK.

Mr Abuga observed that confusion that could arise from the many letters with confusing messages it is receiving on the mandates it holds in respect of the City County Assembly accounts portends weakened controls and a potential loss of public funds

“The purpose of this letter is therefore to clarify and stress that CBK will continue to deal with, and act on instructions from the legal mandate holders for the assembly accounts.”

To guard against any loss of public funds, the counsel said that going forward, mandate holders will be required to physically present themselves to the Bank and authenticate in person, any instructions they have presented to CBK for action.

“CBK will not accept any communication or messages relating to the accounts held, if not from the authorised mandate holders,” he said.

On July 14, 2020, Speaker Elachi obtained temporary order from the Employment and Labour Relations court directing the CBK to reinstate Mr Ndana and Mr Kimani as authorisers and signatories to the assembly’s accounts at CBK. The case is still in court and will be heard on August 3, 2020.