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MCAs race against time to repay huge loans that threaten their re-election

04 March 2016, 14:52 Dareel Eric

Vihiga - Vihiga County Assembly members have reached out to the County Assembly Service Board to help them repay their car and mortgage loans.

Each of the 39 members of assembly and the speaker acquired Sh5 million loan facility provided by government in 2014 but a majority of them have not been servicing the credit promptly.

In a closed door kamukunji that was held at the assembly chambers, MCAs resolved that the only way to be safe for clearance in run up to 2017 is by seeking the board's help.

“The meeting was very steamy. All of us were ordered to leave our phones outside the plenary hall so that no one would record anything,” a member who attended the kamukunji and didn’t wish to be named said.

Speaker of the County assembly, Dan Chitwah said that Cooperative Bank Mbale branch manager visited the assembly last week.

"The manager came to alert members that their period for loan repayment had been shortened since they would exit before March 2018 as they had signed on their loan applications forms," Chitwah said.

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He added, "Members only deliberated on the means to set up standing orders with the bank to repay the loan. They have not asked the board to repay their loans."

He said they were looking into ways through which the board would increase MCAs monthly deductions to repay their loans.

"The members asked me to plead with Kenya Revenue Authority so they can be allowed to repay the loans for a longer time," Chitwah, who is the board chair, said. 

The move to ask the board to repay the loans however divided the House as those with smaller debts revolted and urged their counterparts to carry their own crosses.

“How can the board pay for personal loans that the MCAs acquired on their own? That is unheard of,” a member of the assembly said.

The Car and Mortgage Account is supposed to have KES 200 million by the time the assembly is dissolved later next year.

But according to sources who attended the kamukunji, the target may not be met and this would spell doom for members who wish to defend their seats.

"People completely forgot to service their loans and concentrated on other things that were not of necessity. How can the assembly help them pay for their own debts?" another MCA posed.

Speaker Chitwah said that currently, the account has approximately KES 40 million.

The Speaker, however, said: "The members know that if they do not repay they will not be cleared for 2017."

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