A petitioner wants the High Court to stop government borrowing until the country’s debt undergoes a comprehensive audit. The petition by Operation Linda Ugatuzi also calls for rectification of the nation’s debt data on official websites and other platforms by the National Treasury and Central Bank of Kenya.
In an affidavit submitted by Prof. Fred Ogola, Operation Linda Ugatuzi argues that the government’s borrowing practices have undermined constitutional integrity. The crux of the petition lies in amendments made to section 50 (97) of the Public Finance Management Act no.18 of 2012 by the National Assembly in 2014. The petitioner alleges that these amendments paved the way for unauthorised government borrowing, infringing upon the requirement for parliamentary approval as mandated by law and the constitution.
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The petitioner contends that these amendments eliminated the constitutional obligation for foreign aid or borrowed funds to be channelled into the consolidated fund or the three other public funds specified by the Constitution. The resulting lack of transparency and oversight, according to the petitioner, has given rise to the accumulation of substantial debts, some of which, they assert, are linked to dubious schemes of the National Treasury.
A particularly alarming claim presented in the affidavit is that, as of the 2014/15 financial year, the country’s outstanding debt stood at Sh2.37 trillion. This figure has since undergone a staggering surge, prompting the petitioners to question the legality and legitimacy of this expansion. Prof. Ogola argues that this increase results from illicit public debts facilitated by the National Treasury’s questionable practices.
Furthermore, the petitioner argues that certain debts have never received the requisite authorisation from appropriate legislative acts, casting doubt on their connection to genuine development projects during 2014/2015. They suggest that the ongoing accumulation of debt without proper authorisation amounts to a violation of both constitutional and legal obligations.
The petition by Operation Linda Ugatuzi seeks to hold the government accountable for its borrowing practices and their alignment with constitutional requirements. By advocating for an audit of the national debt and urging transparency through accurate and up-to-date debt data on official platforms, the petitioners aim to restore financial integrity and oversight mechanisms.
The Milimani law court is set to deliberate on this pivotal case, which carries significant implications for the country’s financial management and adherence to constitutional norms.