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Counties have until June 20 to account for councils’ assets worth Sh141bn

Counties have been given until June 20 to compile registers of Sh141 billion worth of assets that belonged to the defunct local government to facilitate their transfer.

The devolved units were initially required by the Prof Karega Mutahi-led Inter-governmental Relations Technical Committee to verify and validate all assets under their jurisdiction as well as liabilities by Friday last week.

However, the committee, in correspondence seen on Sunday by the Nation, argues that the late publication of a legal notice spelling out modalities on how the process would be carried out necessitated the change.

“The committee formulated appropriate structures for gazettement. These structural modalities were approved by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission on September 28, 2016, and again confirmed by the same institution at a meeting on February 21, 2017,” said Prof Mutahi in a letter to governors.

“The committee, regrets, however, that due to factors beyond its control, the actual gazettement of this process took longer than expected,” he adds in the letter copied to Deputy President William Ruto, Council of Governor’s chair Peter Munya and Devolution CS Mwangi Kiunjuri.

VALIDATION OF ASSETS

“The relevant Kenya gazette notice was published on February 27, 2017, and signed by the Devolution CS. Our initial plan was that it was expected that the verification and validation of all assets would be completed by March 31…following the late publication of the legal notice, these dates have now been revised.”

Prof Mutahi, in the letter, directed all County Assets and Liabilities Committees to complete their respective registers by June 20.

He further called on counties that had not established such committees to do so, promising to follow it up with their respective governors.
These committees mainly comprise chairpersons appointed by governors, county commissioners, county assembly clerks, representatives from the National Lands Commission, the Ministry of Lands, Treasury and an officer from the Internal Audit Services department.    

Once the county committees are established by the governors, 423 persons in total, the IGRTC will conduct an intensive induction course for all and the work is expected to start immediately thereafter, said Prof Mutahi.

“IGRTC reiterates that the completion of the vital countrywide exercise is long overdue hence the need to move fast … It is our hope that with the cooperation of all key parties, the exercise will be concluded as phase one by June 20,” he added.

PILED PRESSURE

He spoke as the Council of Governors (CoG) piled pressure on the committee to expedite the process.

“We are aware that the IGRTC, in collaboration with other stakeholders, is spearheading this exercise and we demand that the same be expeditiously concluded,” CoG chairman Peter Munya, who is also the Meru Governor stated last week in Nairobi at the launch of the policy on devolved system of government.

“This task force must put in place a sustainable framework for both the transition and the management of assets and liabilities,” Mr Munya said.

The IGRTC took over all the residual functions of the defunct Transition Authority (TA) following the expiry of its tenure. The authority was chaired by Mr Kinuthia Wamwangi.

The committee is now required to validate, verify and transfer all assets belonging to the defunct local authorities to the respective 47 county governments based on but not limited to the exit reports prepared by TA.

SETTLEMENT OPTIONS

It was further required to verify and validate all the liabilities amounting to Sh1.69 billion belonging to the defunct authorities and develop appropriate settlement options to guide their liquidation.

A report by the TA shows that the defunct councils left behind Sh141 billion worth of assets, including over 7,000 vehicles as well as 40,815 parcels of land.

Liabilities, on the other hand, amount to Sh62 billion as of March 2013.

The liabilities yet to be transferred include payments to suppliers and servicing of bank loans.

On Sunday, Mr Wamwangi in an interview, welcomed the decision to extend the deadline, describing it as timely.

“The decision is quite in order. I totally associate myself with what the IGRTC is doing. They are truly on the right track,” he said.

Nairobi County is among the regions that have already developed an assets register as well as an assets management system and is in the process of digitising it.

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