The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has termed the Sh830 million house allowance paid to MPs as double payment and vowed to recover the money.
Yesterday, the chairperson of the commission, Lyn Mengich, criticised the decision by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) to pay Sh250,000 monthly house allowance to the legislators.
The MPs awarded themselves the house allowances backdated to October last year.
Addressing the Press in Nairobi, Ms Mengich said plans are underway to recover the monies once the Court of Appeal rules on the matter.
The commission now says it will move to court to challenge the new allowances.
“This unconstitutional action by Parliament to pay MPs and senators a house allowance of Sh250,000 monthly will cost taxpayers an extra Sh104 million every month. This will translate to Sh1.2 billion annually,” she said.
Mengich insisted the MPs' gross pay, as set by the commission, includes allowances. She said other State officers are not paid house allowances outside their gross pay.
“The Cabinet Secretaries (CSs), Principal Secretaries (PSs) and the Chief Administrative Secretaries (CAs) do not have house allowance. MPs enjoy house allowances as part of the gross pay,” said Mengich.
She refuted claims by MPs that CSs, PSs and CAs enjoy extra benefits for hosting foreign guests in their residences.
“We are not targeting any State officer. The perks are not itemised but consolidated under the gross pay,” she said.
Mengich was at pains to explain why governors and deputy governors are entitled to the perks, but not MPs.
“We have specific State officers who are entitled to house benefits. Governors and deputy governors are entitled to official residence. MPs get travel allowance to visit constituencies,” she said.
She said legal steps had been taken to have the house allowances paid to MPs returned to the Exchequer.
“The commission will take steps to ensure all payments without legal approval are stopped. We will move to court to set the action aside," she said.
“They have no mandate to set and review salaries and remuneration for State officers,” she said.
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