Members of county assemblies have been illegally awarding themselves allowances and other payments, a report has said.
The report released last week by Controller of Budget (COB) Agnes Odhiambo shows that MCAs increased their expenditure on trips and allowances during the first quarter of the 2018/2019 financial year.
According to the report, some county assemblies increased their allowances by over 1,200 per cent.
Others paid MCAs committee sitting allowances that exceeded the Sh80,000 recommended by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
The COB noted that 14 county assemblies - Migori, Kwale, Siaya, Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Nyandarua, Kisii, Makueni, Mombasa, Nyeri, Kiambu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Nairobi City - paid their members committee sitting allowances higher than the SRC’s recommended monthly maximum of Sh80,000.
In Migori County, MCAs spent Sh20 million in the first quarter of the 2018/19 financial year on foreign travel.
During the same period, the ward representatives were paid Sh121,026 each in sitting allowances, way above the Sh80,000 recommended by the SRC.
In Siaya County, the assembly increased expenditure on travel allowances by 2,838 per cent. The MCAs also pocketed Sh107,969 each.
In Kakamega, siting allowances were increased by 43 per cent. Each MCA pocketed Sh82,736.
The Kisumu County Assembly, which spent the better part of the first quarter trying to oust the speaker, increased the committee allowances by about 24 per cent.
Nairobi County decreased its overall expenditure on committee sitting allowances by about 22 per cent. However, the COB noted, the MCAs still earned more than the SRC recommended maximum.
The Nakuru County Assembly is among those that spent money in line with SRC’s recommendations. The MCAs pocketed Sh33,131 each as sitting allowance.
At the Bomet County Assembly, expenditure on committee allowances increased by 371 per cent, with the 37 ward ward representatives pocketing about Sh7 million.
The Murang’a County Assembly increased expenditure on committee sitting allowances by 1,239.5 per cent
According to Ms Odhiambo, the sitting allowances have been alarming. But even more shocking are the amounts counties spent on foreign travel.
“In absolute terms, Taita Taveta County incurred the highest expenditure on domestic and foreign travel at Sh143 million, followed by Migori County at Sh135 million and Nairobi County at Sh127.46 million,” said Odhiambo.