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NMS employees go without salaries as Sonko, Badi fight

More than 6,800 employees of Nairobi County seconded to Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) will wait longer for their salaries after the National Treasury declined to release money for payment of salaries.

This is after National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani declined a request by the Major General Mohammed Badi-led office to release the funds until a dispute between the agency and Governor Mike Sonko is resolved.

In a letter addressed to NMS Director General Badi, Yatani said there was no legal framework in place to facilitate such a transaction and that the funds can only be remitted to the Nairobi County Government (NCCG) Revenue Fund Account and not to NMS.

He pointed out that Section 4(2) of County Allocation of Revenue Act (CARA), 2020 provides that each county governments’ allocation shall be transferred to the respective County Revenue Fund, in accordance with a payment schedule approved by the senate and published in the Kenya gazette by the CS, in accordance with section 17of PFM Act, 2012.

“The above legal provisions therefore imply that equitable share allocation due to Nairobi City County Government, including monies for personnel emoluments, shall be transferred to NCCG Revenue Fund Account,” Mr Yatani said in a letter dated October 15, 2020.

Mr Yatani explained that specific tenets of the law made it illegal to approve such a transaction since there is an unresolved dispute between City Hall and NMS on matters budgeting, oversight of NMS funds and secondment of staff to NMS.

The current stalemate stems from a notice of a declaration of dispute registered by Governor Sonko on July 24, 2020.

Talks over the dispute between the two entities is now with the office of the Attorney General where Solicitor Kennedy Ogeto is spearheading the arbitration committee with a view to coming up with an agreeable solution.

Deed of Transfer

Mr Yatani said parties to the Deed of Transfer of functions from City Hall to the National Government entered into an interim settlement agreement as an expression of good faith and commitment to an amicable resolution of the matters in dispute.

Consequently, pursuant to Article 112 of the Deed of Transfer that provides that parties shall, in the first instance, endeavor to resolve disputes governed by, or arising from the Deed of Transfer amicably through negotiations, the National Treasury is waiting for the resolution to the disputes before taking any action.

“Given the above legal provisions and the ongoing negotiations, the National Treasury awaits further guidance from the office of the attorney general on the way forward on the above issues,” said Mr Yatani.

The CS was responding to a letter by Maj Gen Badi dated September 3, 2020 in which the NMS boss requested the National Treasury to release funds to pay salaries of the 6,852 county staff.

This is after health workers under the NMS took to the streets protesting over, among other things, the delayed salaries.

Their woes have further been compounded by the dispute between NMS and City Hall over employees’ payroll.

NMS wants City Hall to handover the staff payroll to enable it pay staff seconded to it.

City Hall, on the other hand, maintains that it is the sole custodian of the staff payroll, since the role of payment of salaries still lies with the Nairobi County Government.