MPs plot fightback against SRC, Omtatah on allowance

Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi.
MPs will on Thursday meet to plot a response to a case challenging a Sh250,000 controversial house allowance paid to them.

Tuesday, Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi informed the MPs of the kamukunji to deliberate on the subject that has painted them in bad light.

The MPs are saddled by two cases, filed by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and activist Okiya Omtatah, questioning the "illegal" payments.

In his communication, the Speaker made reference to the fact that Mr Omtata sued each individual MP, leaving them no option but to attend.

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“It is a matter that involves each one of us. It is fair that we meet and discuss it,” said the Speaker.

MPs are fighting for the house allowances, arguing that it will place them at par with other public officers who enjoy the same.

On the corridors of Parliament, the lawmakers have been pointing to Section 31 of the Employment Act, which compels employees to pay employers house allowance.

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Last week, SRC obtained interim orders stopping the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) from making further payments to the MPs.

This came after the lawmakers had pocketed house allowances backdated to last year.

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Each of the country's 416 lawmakers - 349 in the National Assembly and 67 in the Senate - received Sh2.25 million above their monthly pay in the backdated lump sum. 

SRC wants the allowance recovered, failure to which individual members of the PSC and Secretary of the Commission, Jeremiah Nyegenye, should be held responsible.

In his petition, Mr Omtata has argued that Parliament has no legal powers to determine salaries.

The activist has also sued Speakers of both Houses, PSC, Parliament, National Treasury, Controller of Budget and the Attorney General.

Homa Bay town MP Peter Opondo Kaluma asked the Speaker to convene the meeting to forge a quick way forward on the matter.

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Sources hinted that the legislators plan to challenge Omtata's decision to enjoin constitutional office holders such as the AG in the case, and that they want to reduce the matter to a mere dispute between SRC and PSC.   

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SRCOkiya OmtatahEmployment ActMPs Allowances