The Star (Nairobi)

10 January 2013

Kenya: Lawmakers Pass Govt Send-Off Package

Members of parliament have passed the Retirement Benefits Bill 2012 which will allow them to get 9.3 million shillings as a winding allowance.   ( Resource: Kenyan MPs Approve Send-Off Perks

MPs have finally passed two bills awarding President Kibaki alongside several other state officers hefty sendoff packages.

The MPs passed the Presidential Retirement Benefits (Amendment) Bill 2012 and the Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Bill 2012 after effecting a few amendments last evening.

President Kibaki will go home with Sh25.2 million having served as Head of State for two terms after he was sworn in on December 30, 2002.

Others set to benefit from the payout are Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, House Speaker Kenneth Marende, Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim and the two Deputy Prime Ministers Musalia Mudavadi and Uhuru Kenyatta.

Also benefiting is the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, his deputy who is yet to be appointed, Attorney General Githu Muigai and the Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces Julius Karangi.

Added to the list during the committee stage yesterday were the Director-General of the National Intelligence Service Michael Gichangi and the Inspector-General of the National Police Service David Kimaiyo.

The two Bills will now be handed to President Kibaki for his signature. Kibaki can, however refuse to sign the Bill into law. The Bill passed provides that the President will be paid a lump sum take-home of Sh12.6 million for every term served bringing the total to 25.2 million for the two terms he has served.

Kibaki upon leaving office come March 2013 will be paid pension at the rate of 80 per cent of his final salary of Sh700,000 meaning he would earn Sh560,000 a month.

In addition he would be paid 40 per cent of the current salary as entertainment allowance, some Sh280,000. Finance Minister Njeru Githae has said the increase is because of inflation. The law previously provided that upon retirement, Kibaki will collect Sh17 million lump sum payment.

Raila, Kalonzo and Marende will each take home Sh5.4 million while Maalim will get a lumpsum payout of Sh3.6 million. Raila, Kalonzo and Marende have an annual salary of Sh3.6 million. They also get huge perks from their special responsibilities as state officers and as MPs.

MPs were also last evening plotting to also include themselves in the list of State officers set to benefit from the hefty sendoff package. Last October, Kibaki declined to assent to the Finance Amendment Bill 2012 that has been passed by Parliament, denying MPs hefty Sh2.1 billion severance pay that they had secretly awarded themselves.

The President said the amendment that Members of Parliament made last week that would result in an additional charge to the consolidated fund was unconstitutional and untenable.

Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) vice chairman Adan Keynan had introduced amendments to the National Assembly Remuneration Act to peg MPs severance allowance at the rate of 31 per cent of the gross remuneration payable to the legislators each month.

The amendment would have seen the 222 MPs, Speaker Kenneth Marende and Attorney-General Githu Muigai -who are ex-officio members- take home Sh9.3 million each when their term ends on January 15, 2013.

Last week, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission objected to the move by Parliament to award the president and other State officers the sendoff packages arguing that it was not consulted in the preparation of the two bills.

The commission's chairperson Sarah Cheserem said it is the sole mandate of the commission to set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of all state officers as defined under article 260 of the constitution.

Cheserem observed that it is the constitutional mandate of the commission to advise the National Government and County Governments on the remuneration and benefits of all other public officers. She said the MPs were not only violating the constitution but also the Salaries and Remuneration Commission Act.

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