21 November 2012

Kenya: House to Debate MPs' Sh2 Billion Send-Off

MPs have been directed to discuss and vote on a memorandum on a bill in which they awarded themselves a Sh2 billion retirement package that President Kibaki declined to sign into law.

National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende yesterday officially read the President's memo to the MPs and directed the House Business Committee to allocate time for its debate and ensure it is dispensed with by December 6.

Kibaki declined to assent to the Finance Bill, 2012, saying the country could not afford the colossal perks that the MPs had awarded themselves in form of a severance package.

The MPs had during a night session in October, secretly awarded themselves the massive retirement bonus that would have seen each MP pocket an extra Sh9 million.

Some MPs were to pocket more based on the various positions they hold in Parliament. The MPs amended the National Assembly Remuneration Act so that "severance" allowance is computed as 31 per cent of gross income, instead of 31 per cent of basic pay.

They then backdated the extra pay to August 27, 2010, the day the new constitution was promulgated. "This proposal contravenes Article 230 of the Constitution which creates the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and confers upon it the mandate to, interlia, set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of all state officers," Kibaki said in the memo read to the MPs yesterday. The President has noted that MPs are considered as State Officers as defined in Article 260 of the constitution.

"In the premise, the Members of Parliament by proposing the above amendment to the Finance Bill, 2012 are in effect usurping the Constitutional powers of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission."

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