Court declines to suspend Hustler Fund

Written by on 14 December 2022

A case challenging the Hustler Fund will have to wait longer after the High Court declined to certify it as urgent and directed it be mentioned in February.

Justice Mugure Thande declined to give orders suspending any further disbursement of funds and directed the petition filed by Operation Linda Ugatuzi to be served upon all parties by yesterday and responses to be filed by January 23.

The lobby group wanted the court to issue temporary orders suspending further disbursement of funds under the Financial Inclusion Fund.

It also sought orders suspending implementation of the Legal Notice No.213 and by extension the Financial Inclusion Fund pending the hearing and determination of the application.

Treasury  CS

Justice Thande, however, did not issue the temporary orders and instead directed the matter to be mentioned on February 15.

President William Ruto launched the fund on November 30 and announced that the capital amount for the fund currently stands at Sh50 billion.

The lobby group, through lawyer Bernard Odero Okello, however claims that there has not been any establishment of a board contemplated under Regulation 10 of the regulation by the Treasury Cabinet Secretary.

The lobby argues that the CS had also not appointed a Chief Executive Officer under regulation 14(1) nor approved the estimates of expenditure and revenue.

“Despite the said fund being stated to have been removed from the consolidated fund without following the due process enshrined in the law, the president has indicated that a further role out of the second phase of the fund is to be released to the public soon,” Okello says in court documents.

Interested parties

It is their case that a public fund of over Sh100 billion will be unaccounted for out of the consolidated fund for lack of proper administrative mechanisms to safeguard the same as required under the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act as read together with the regulations establishing the fund.

The lobby group argues that to date there has not been any appropriation by the national assembly as per Regulations 4, 5 and 6 of the regulations.

They have enjoined Central Bank of Kenya, Safaricom PLC, Kenya Commercial Bank, Airtel Kenya, National Social Security Fund, Retirement Benefits Authority as interested parties in the suit while the Attorney General has been named as the respondent.

They sought temporary orders against Central Bank of Kenya, Safaricom PLC, Kenya Commercial Bank and Airtel Kenya stopping them from sharing personal information of their subscribers with the Treasury CS through the various platforms used to roll out the fund.

The lobby group also seeks an order directing the Office of the President, Parliamentary Budget Office, Treasury CS, Controller of Budget and Central Bank of Kenya to render an account of the funds already disbursed to date after the launch of the Financial Inclusion Fund.

Operation Linda Ugatuzi also wants the court to freeze penalty or negative repercussions being visited upon any citizen that has already borrowed and or withdrawn money from the platform.

The case will now be mentioned next year.

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