Lawyer Paul Mwangi, the Chairman of Okoa Kenya’s Committee of Experts has sharply criticized Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba over an assertion that counties will now get more funds simply because parliament is set to adopt audited accounts of the previous financial years.
As part of Jubilee attempts to scuttle Okoa Kenya referendum call, parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, headed by Mr. Namwamba, was hurriedly convened at the Coast last week to ‘scrutinize’ and approve financial records for the last three years.
The role of the committee came under sharp focus for the delay of funds to counties as the government was still using audited records of the last financial year (2009/10) to allocate funds to counties. The mischief was, government, through parliament, had delayed approving financial records for the last three financial years, that is 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13.
With the realization that the national government can tactfully delay the approval of financial records, thus only allow sharing of revenue hinged on the available approved records (the current being 2009/10), the Okoa Kenya team has proposed revenue to be shared based on ‘revenue collected of the past year’ and not ‘audited accounts’ of the past year.
Ababu claims counties will get ksh 400 billion in the 2015 budget. This position is contested by both Mwangi and Suba MP John Mbadi, who is a member of PAC.
“Passing of audited accounts does not address issues of raising money to counties. As long as revenue remains at 15%, nothing will change unless the constitution is amended to increase revenue share to 45 per cent,” said Mwangi.
Mr. Mwangi accused Namwamba of mischievously creating a diversion. While Ababu seems obsessed with the speed at which his team was last week able to audit and approve the accounts, Mwangi cautions that future PACs may not work as fast. Indeed, observers will notice that even the current PAC only begun work on the last unaudited accounts after both governors and CORD’s referendum scare.
Mwangi maintains Ababu is only creating a diversion and the position of PAC team, now being supported vigorously by the Jubilee alliance opposed to referendum, does not strengthen devolution the way Okoa Kenya wants.