President Uhuru Kenyatta’s assent to the Supplementary Appropriation Bill on Wednesday made it possible for the electoral commission to pay for the printing of ballot papers for the General Election in August.
The Act makes it possible for the government to spend an additional Sh51.4 billion in the current financial year, which will end in the next six days.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission had already been allocated Sh2.5 billion for the printing of the ballot papers in the next financial year.
It however brought the payment forward to this year to make it possible for the Dubai firm, Al Ghurair, to get paid to start the work.
IEBC announced last week that the printing of the ballot papers was to start today and run till July 18, 20 days to the elections on August 8.
MPs had initially refused to approve the Supplementary Budget and demanded explanations on the allocation to the IEBC yet it had already been given money for the ballot papers in the next financial year.
Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch would later tell the House that the payment should be approved as the IEBC had given the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee sufficient reasons.
“We were given a clear brief by the IEBC and we were informed that this amount was allocated in the 2017/18 financial year but because the payments have to be made in the current financial year, that allocation has to be brought forward,” Mr Aluoch said.
President Kenyatta’s assent to the Bill and the start of the printing comes ahead of the hearing of the case filed by Nasa against the award of the contract to Al Ghurair.
Nasa says it is afraid that there could be a lack of fairness in the elections if Al Ghurair prints the ballot papers as there is, it claims, a relationship between President Kenyatta and the Dubai company.
Both the President and the company have denied claims that there is a relationship between them.
Justice George Odunga today asked Chief Justice David Maraga to set up a bench of more than three judges to handle the fresh case.