Kenya: Petitioners Challenge Proposed Revenue Sharing Formula in High Court

Two petitioners have challenged the proposed revenue sharing formula.

Devolution Defenders Network Forum officials Michael Otieno and Evance Gor filed the petition before Justice Thripsisa Cherere in Kisumu, citing contravention of national values and the principles of governance.

They say the formula will lead to some regions getting less money than what rightfully belongs to them.

Justice Cherere certified the matter as urgent and referred it to the Constitutional and Human Rights Division of the High Court in Nairobi.

It will be mentioned on September 29.

"Perusal of the petition has shown that the respondents and interested parties are based in Nairobi," the judge said.

The two say what is needed is a plan that will enable counties share revenue equitably.

They argue that there was no public participation and that the proposed formula is based on latest census results, "which disadvantages regions with small populations".

The two are also challenging the constitutional and legal validity of implementation of the national budget without an enacted formula.

They list Attorney General, Cabinet Secretary National Treasury, the National Treasury and the Senate as the respondents and the National Assembly, the Council of Governors and the Commission on Revenue Allocation as interested parties in the case.

Justice Cherere noted that the High Court in Kisumu enjoys countrywide unlimited jurisdiction in criminal and civil matters except in matters reserved for the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

"The place of hearing of any suit will be founded on the convenience of the parties and facilitation of just, expeditious, proportionate and affordable determination of the dispute," said Justice Cherere.

The judge said that she was persuaded that the advantages of the petition being hear in Nairobi far outweighs the advantages of having the same heard in Kisumu in so far as securing a just, most expeditious and least expensive determination of the petition on its merits.

"Failure by the third respondent to approve the third formula for revenue in time after the expiry of the second formula will make Kenyans not to benefit with the constitution requiring that the formula must be approved first before county allocation of revenue bill is considered by the Senate," said Mr Gor, one of the petitioners.

He further said the matter is extremely urgent since the Finance Cabinet Secretary and the Finance Ministry delivered a statement before the national assembly highlighting on the budget policy and revenue raising measures for fiscal year 2020/2021 ending on June 30, 2021.

"We have researched the background to the challenged publicized budget 2020 policy statement and equitable national revenue share and established that it was in total disregard to the express directions of the public finance management act 2012 and the constitution of Kenya," said Mr Otieno.

He added, "The matter here is extremely urgent as the application seeks to stop the blatant disregard of the law of which no bill has been approved by the fourth respondent on equitable revenue share and seeks to immediately stop the imminent implementation by the first and second respondents of the void budget for the year ending June 30, 2021," Otieno told the court.

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