Kilifi business owners to sue county govt over delayed payments

One of the business persons Bendera Wilson Charo, displays her payment documents at her office. PHOTO: DAVID NGUMBAO.

Kilifi, KENYA: The business community in Kilifi have vowed to sue the county government over delayed payments.

The community says the county government has been delaying payments for reasons that make no sense to them.

One of the business owners in the county, Bendera Wilson Charo told Baraka FM that she has been frustrated since 2015 as her debts with the county government have now accrued to more than sh. 3.7 Million.

“I have been supplying foodstuff and other commodities to the County Government and I have not been paid for the past three years,” Bendera told journalists in her office in Kilifi Town.

“I have inquired from the chief officer ICT, Culture and Social Services Mohamed Chuba but he has been lying to me that in a short while I would be paid but nothing has been done up to now,” she added.

She said she tried her level best to even meet Governor Amason Kingi to ask for help.

She recalls that during her meeting with Governor Kingi, Chuba and the department’s accountant were summoned to explain the problem, but had nothing to tell other than giving lame excuses.

“For sure I have now decided to take this matter to court because it has caused me a lot of losses and I cannot accept that because when I did the job there was money set aside for it,” Bendera added.

According to her, The ICT Department owes her sh. 3.2 million and the Executive department has sh. 592, 100.

“My files keep on moving from ICT to finance department without proper explanations and the last time I was told that my debt has been cleared but now I don’t have the money neither do I know where my money is,” Bendera reckoned.

Her sentiments were echoed by David Charo, who has been a supplier working with the county government  since 2015.

“It is difficult to work with the county government especially when it comes to payments and before you have to work extra hard to move your file from one stage to another,” Charo said.

“All contractors, suppliers and business people are crying foul over the County Government,” said Charo.

Charo has two companies which demand in excess of sh. 1.7 million from the ICT department among other departments and a total of not less than sh. 2.3 million and questioned why the county government has not set proper strategies to ensure that people are paid on time.

“The Governor must ensure that youth, women and persons with disability get what belongs to them by right,” Charo said.

“It is not fair for the Governor to sit back and watch our rights being infringed,” added Charo.

However, Chief Officer in charge of Finance and Economic Planning Benjamin Kai said the delay on payments is due to a delay by the national government to release County allocations.

“We have not been getting money in time from the National Government and the last money we got was in the month of November,” Kai said.

“Another challenge is with our County revenue collections which are not up to our targets. We had set a target amount of sh. 1 billion but we are getting a maximum of shs650 million annually,” said Kai.

Kai said that the county government owes its contractors and suppliers over sh.1 billion debt