MPs pocketing millions in ‘crooked’ mileage claims
SEE ALSO :MPs seek clarity on Aitel, Telkom mergerThe official who sought anonymity produced details of how MPs fraudulently claim millions of shillings in mileage allowances that cost the country in excess of Sh2 billion every financial year. Even more shocking was the fact that there are no checks and balances to regulate the claims. The mileage allowance has thus become a cash cow with some MPs claiming money without having to travel to their constituencies. “Mileage allowance is one of the biggest consumers of our budget. This is the biggest scandal in Parliament today,” said the official. He is disturbed that MPs do not show any proof they actually travelled and even those of us who travel, do not drive to Coast, Nyanza, Garissa, Wajir and other destinations.” He said MPs normally fly yet the taxpayer pays a mileage allowance amounting to millions of shillings for car use.
SEE ALSO :MPs want Budget cut to Sh2 trillionHe proposed that the Government adopts the policy of reimbursement of the actual cost incurred upon proof to save the taxpayer. MPs who agreed to speak on record confirmed that millions of shillings have traditionally been lost through dubious claims. Legislator Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu) said: “It is true that is one of the most dubious claims in Parliament today. MPs just claim money without any proof. There are some of us who claim between Sh1 million and Sh1.5 million monthly on mileage alone.” Verifiable claims He proposed that MPs be asked to claim against actual and verifiable claims to save the taxpayer and deal with the rising wage bill. Alternatively, he said, all MPs could be given government vehicles and fuel to eliminate mileage. Mileage allowance was part of the contentious issues when the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) locked horns with Parliament last year.
SEE ALSO :The bumpy road to two-thirds gender ruleAt a meeting at the Deputy President William Ruto’s official residence in Karen, PSC members are reported to have arm-twisted the SRC and Ruto into ceding ground to allow payment of mileage allowance. PSC members allegedly threatened that if Government did not cede ground, then Parliament would initiate a Motion to disband SRC and would equally refuse to approve the appointments of Cabinet Secretaries. In Kenya, unlike the practice in other commonwealth countries, it is assumed that an MP travels every weekend to their respective constituencies. Under the current arrangement, an MP or Senator is allowed to claim Sh187 per kilometer (Automobile Association of Kenya rates) travelled as long as one covers in excess of 750 kilometer. The fraud is so yawing that one commissioners even tried to claim mileage allowance when she was out of the country but her scheme was exposed when the passport control systems betrayed her. Another nominated MP wrote to PSC requesting adjustment of his home from Njoro to Kiunga in Lamu but the commission declined.
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