MPs pocketing millions in ‘crooked’ mileage claims
SEE ALSO :Removing garbage to cost Sh400mAt 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.
SEE ALSO :Teachers score big in Sh5.6B SchemeWhen The Standard on Sunday contacted Speaker J.B. Muturi for a comment, he said: “We do not pay any allowance that is not approved by the SRC and that is the case now unless it changes.” He, however, agreed that in many countries, MPs are reimbursed the actual cost of travelling upon proof of distance covered. In Kenya, an MP is supposed to provide his/her car’s registration number and append a signature against the amount collected. Apart from the mileage allowance and the Sh5 million car grant, MPs also receive Sh356,000 as car maintenance allowance every month. But Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo said the mileage allowance is not a significant amount and is part of the Sh356,000 which is paid as cost of maintaining the car every month. “Mileage claim is a small amount. I don’t think I have even claimed any allowance this year. It is part of the amount you just mentioned (Sh356,000),” he said. But from the documents availed, it is clear that mileage allowance is Parliament’s biggest budget expenditure. The concerned PSC member demanded that prudent measures be enacted to check and validate MPs’ claims to clip unnecessary wastage and fraudulent claims. It is not clear how the office of the Auditor General clears mileage allowances given that MPs do not show any prove of expenditure. The Auditor General did not respond to our calls neither did he respond to our text message.