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Kenyan MPs expose colleagues earning millions in fake mileage claims

POLITICS
By Alphonce Shiundu | October 16th 2015

The unity of theft in Parliament was yesterday shattered when a group of 17 MPs exposed their colleagues who have been raking in millions every month in phony mileage claims costing the taxpayer a colossal Sh150 million every four weeks.

The 17 lawmakers mainly from Nairobi, Murang'a, Machakos, Kiambu and Kajiado counties have told the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) and Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) that their colleagues from far-flung constituencies file fraudulent claims to access millions.

The MPs want mileage claims for all 349 of their colleagues cancelled, saying their colleagues spend the weekend in the city partying, only to show up on Monday at Parliament's Accounts department seeking reimbursement for non-existent journeys made to their constituencies.

"This is totally unacceptable," said the MPs in their letter. They say the claims have become 'automatic' because there is no verification that those who claim actually travelled to their constituencies.

They also said their colleagues still claim the money even when the National Assembly is on recess, when it is presumed every MP is in their respective constituencies.

"Other than this system of mileage reimbursement being prone to abuse, it is also extravagant and wasteful to say the least. We find it immoral and obscene considering the economic conditions of the majority of Kenyans," said the lawmakers.

They said PSC and SRC should change the policy so that Kenyan MPs get plane tickets and taxi fare to and from the airport to save taxpayers' money. "Other jurisdictions in the world that are much richer than Kenya have more cost-effective and sustainable ways of ensuring elected members stay in constant touch with their electorate," they said.

The 17 MPs said in South Africa and Finland MPs get tickets to travel home, but they are never paid during recess because they are supposed to be with their constituents. They said the weekly claims that were not verified – even though MPs file fake work tickets—were simply unsustainable and unaffordable.

"It is a known fact our air travel is a bit more advanced than it was a while back. Most areas of this country can now be accessed through air travel," said the lawmakers in their October 15, 2015 letter.

They said it was wrong for them to 'preach' about the wage bill when they were in fact raiding the exchequer for cash. "We should not be seen preaching water and drinking wine," they said.

Other constituencies singled out by the lawmakers are: Funyula, Isiolo North, Malindi, Nakuru Town, Turbo, Butere, Kitui Central, Kisumu West, Nyaribari Chache, Dujis, Narok North, Nyeri Town, North Imenti, Lamu West, Mvita, Turkana Central, Tongaren, Mbita and Bomet East.

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