More than 22 garage operators in Kilifi County have threatened to auction about 25 county government vehicles in their garages to recover Sh.40 million debt owed by the county for three years.
They said they will use legal means to auction them after the county government failed to settle their dues for financial year 2014/15 and 2015/2016 on time despite offering repair and maintenance services.
Speaking in Kilifi town on Monday, the Kilifi County Garage Association (KCGA) Chairman, Ignatius Luvati said some of the vehicles to be auctioned are a fire engine and ambulances that have remained idle in their garages due to unpaid bills since the year 2014.
The vehicles have been detained across the 22 garages in the county as a result of pending bills that totals to about Sh.40 million after our plea for payment to the county government hit a deaf ear.
According to him, some of the garages, include Ryan Auto Works, Bodo Auto Accessories, Daju Auto works, Concorde Motors, Kevula, Vegos, Samwhely, Japro, Ndimu Investment among others.
The association secretary, Ronald Charo said they had come up with a WhatsApp group and the associations to assist them solve such problems arising from the county government and other customers.
It is through continuous meetings and discussions that we resulted to have an appointment with Governor Amason Kingi to address grievances to settle the issue, he added.
Charo said six of the association representatives later met the governor at his official residence during campaigns period together with county departmental chiefs and agreed they be paid before August.
After two days, some of the debts totaling about Sh.5 million were paid, he said, adding that this was despite the Finance Chief Officer Ben Kai saying funds had been processed to settle the debt within the agreed time.
The treasurer,David Kaluche, questioned why the debt had lasted for more than two years despite being given Local Purchase Order numbers which means funds had already been committed for payment.
Responding, County Finance Chief Officer, Ben Kai faulted the Sh.40 million debt quoted by the garage association, saying they had paid about Sh.10 million before being locked out by the financial deadline period.
We reprocessed payment of the remaining Sh.20 million after being locked out by September 30, deadline which also affected development projects, he said.
He added that the National Treasury had only released funds for salary payments.
Kai said officials from the county finance department had met Finance Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich in Nairobi to solve the finance problem that has paralyzed numerous operations in the county.
He said payments in relation to garages, security, cleaning among others operations in the county had also stalled for lack of funds.
Source: Kenya News Agency