Blow to SRC as MPs win Sh8b case

Salaries and Remuneration commission (SRC) Chairperson Lyn Mengich flanked SRC Commissioner Dalmas Otieno (left) in a briefing on house allowance for Members of Parliament and Senators, on May 15 2019. [David Gichuru/Standard]

Members of Parliament and county assemblies will continue enjoying Sh8 billion footed by the taxpayers annually after Court of Appeal declined to reinstate a notice by the Salary and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

The court declined to grant to SRC’s prayers saying there was no evidence that the leaders would not refund the contested perks in the event they lose.

“In the instant matter, save for bare allegations, there is no evidence by way of affidavit that state officers and Members of Parliament will not be in a position to refund any monies paid. When we consider the facts as placed before us, the applicant has not shown why it alleges that the Members of Parliament will be incapable of refunding the sums paid,” ruled Justices William Ouko, Asike Makhandia and Otieno Odek.

A similar verdict was spelt out in the case where SRC appealed against retaining high salaries by MCAs.

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It emerged that 18 former and current lawmakers had raised concerns with National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and SRC against their colleagues and at the Parliamentary Service Commissioners (PSC) over excessive allowances and skewed mileage.

Fraudulent

“Currently, we are spending Sh150 million per month which in total comes to Sh1.802 billion per year in mileage. How does the commission verify that a member has traveled for 52 weeks in a year even when the Parliament is in process? This is illegal, fraudulent and leaves a question on the integrity of the members of parliament under chapter six of the Constitution,” a letter filed in court file read in part.

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The proposal was to have MPs from far flung areas take flights, limited to four trips a month. This would save the tax payer Sh1.05 billion. The letter in court revealed that some of the legislators go home with extra Sh3 million (nontaxable).

“This is morally wrong and unacceptable. This makes our Parliamentarians the highest paid employees in the world. They are also paid more than the President of Kenya and United Sates of America,” the letter written by former Makadara MP Benson Mutura read in part.

In the case, SRC argued that MCAs will be illegally remunerated under the lapsed 2013 Gazette Notice and this will be against all tenets of public finance management.

PSC instead demanded that if SRC scrapped mileage allowance, then each law maker would have to be given be a car which would be retained by the commission.

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SRCCourt of AppealSh8 billionMPs