Nairobi City county Attorney on the Spot over Bills

by Lawyer Wanz

Nairobi County MCAs have called city attorney Lydia Kwamboka to account for her office’s apparent refusal to gazette Assembly-passed bills.

This, they argue, has caused uncertainty over a number of laws enforced by the county administration.

Ms Kwamboka, on the other hand, has stated that her office may only publish what has been approved by the governor.

Budget and Appropriations Committee chairperson Robert Mbatia accused the county attorney of failing to publish several Bills passed by the county assembly in the Kenya Gazette.

He cited Finance Bill, 2019, which was passed by the Assembly two years ago but which has never come into effect because it was neither assented to nor published in the Kenya Gazette as required by law. Further, he alleged, the Finance Bill, 2020 was not considered by the County Assembly because of the county attorney’s office failure to publish it in good time.

This, he claims, has resulted in confusion over what law is being applied for collection of fees by City Hall.

“The last complete review of taxes, fees and charges was undertaken through the Finance Bill, 2018 and the subsequent Finance Act, 2018,” said Mr Mbatia.

He further cited other laws touching on revenue administration like Nairobi County Revenue Act; on advertising such as outdoor advertising, transport, trade licensing, among others, which have never been published to pave way for their operationalisation.

“Whereas the County Assembly, through the Office of the Clerk and Office of the Speaker, has taken remedial measures to correct this mess, the performance of the Office of the County Attorney is something that the Budget committee is seriously looking into,” said the Kariobangi South MCA.

But in her defence, Ms Kwamboka exonerated her office from the accusations, saying it can only gazette what the county governor greenlights.

“If the governor fails to assent to a Bill that is not my office’s failure. My office only gazettes Bills once assented. We cannot publish what has not been assented to. After gazetting it, thereafter it becomes law,” said Ms Kwamboka.

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