Mandera county government has been allowed to utilise funds approved in the supplementary budget in February after the court was informed that a freeze order last month was subjecting residents to hardship.
A bench of three judges noted that maintaining the freeze would cripple operations in the county as over 3,900 workers would not be paid until September.
Further, the court was informed that the supply of medical drugs to health facilities and provision of emergency water to drought-affected sub-counties would be interrupted.
The freeze was issued in May after a resident, Ismail Abdullahi complained that there was no public participation and millions had been allocated for services preserved for the national government.
“As earlier observed, neither of the parties stand to gain from the conservatory orders being maintained, since this would in effect result in the funds pertaining to the Supplementary Budget being returned to the Treasury when a substantial part of it should have been utilised for the greater benefit of the applicants in service of their employees, suppliers and the residents of Mandera County, and who would otherwise be subjected to hardship,” judges Daniel Musinga, Agnes Murgor and Fatuma Sichale said.
The court heard that the freeze might lead to the collapse of services because the county government would be unable to pay its bills, whether development or recurrent and at the end of the financial year, the money will be returned to the Treasury.
The county government said it needed the money to provide water to residents and relief to cushion them from the ravages of drought.
Mr Abdullahi opposed the application and maintained that other than lack of public participation, the county had allocated Sh2.5 million for the renovation and painting of five classrooms at Dikduro Primary School.
He also named the development of a playground at Dololo Primary School at Sh2 million, the construction of a playground at Kubi Hill Primary at Sh400,000 and an ECD classroom and twin toilets at Ayan Primary in Takaba South at Sh1.5 million.
“That the unilateral allocation of funding for projects that are the preserve of the national government rendered the applicants’ actions a violation of the constitutional dictates,” he said.
The county executive for finance Sulekha Harun said the residents of the seven sub-counties made contributions to the budgetary estimates and the county treasury took into consideration the development estimates and recurrent expenditure in the process.
“Given these premises, in our view, providence demands that the conservatory orders be stayed in the interest of the public,” the judges said.