11 January 2018

Kenya: Salaries Body Digs in Over Lower Pay for MPs As Court Row Rages

Photo: Daily Nation
President Kenyatta addresses MPs and senators during the official opening of the 12th Parliament on September 12.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has stepped up its bid to ensure members of the 12th Parliament earn reduced salaries and allowances.

While MPs obtained a court order before the end of last year stopping implementation of a gazette notice that reduced their salaries and allowances, the SRC has accused the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) of failing to disclose relevant information to the court before the same decree was made.

PAY PERKS

In an application filed Wednesday, SRC now wants the High Court order, which barred MPs from receiving new reviewed pay perks, set aside.

Through lawyer Andrew Wandabwa, SRC claims that in a December 11, 2017 letter, PSC agreed to some of the issues which, in a twist of events, have now been raised in the case as grievances, leading to the court order.

According to the salaries agency, MPs now stand to earn salaries and allowances in the initial amounts that stood before a review was done by the commission.

"Given the fact that the stay order is in force, PSC is in the process of trying to remunerate MPs on irregular terms and which, if effected, the same will be irrecoverable," said Mr Wandabwa.

On December 14, 2017, MPs obtained a reprieve after the High Court suspended the implementation of the gazette notice stipulating that their sitting allowances, among other benefits, should be reduced.

Justice George Odunga granted the reprieve after PSC sued SRC, accusing it of interfering with its constitutional mandate as well as seeking to cripple the functioning of the 12th Parliament.

The gazette notice indicated that current MPs should have reduced sitting allowance for plenary sessions and committee meetings to 16 per month, reimbursable mileage allowance as well as the medical ex-gratia and abolishing a Sh5 million car grant.

PSC terms the decision to review salaries and allowances for MPs as unreasonable as well as discriminatory while accusing SRC of ignoring relevant considerations. But SRC counters that the case was misconceived and an abuse of the court process.

IRREGULAR TERMS

"PSC has not been candid in this matter and has concealed the fact that it received a letter dated December 11, 2017 from SRC in which it acceded to some of the matters they are aggrieved with and which form the basis of this case," said Ms Margaret Njoka, SRC's acting chief executive officer.

She added: "The effect of this leave operating as a stay is that PSC will proceed to remunerate its employees on irregular terms which if effected, the sums will be irrecoverable."

In the 2013-2017 pay structure, the speakers of the National Assembly and Senate earned a maximum of Sh1,320,000, the leader of majority Sh1, 056,000, minority leader Sh1,020,670 and MPs as well as senators Sh710,000.

Following the review, the speakers are to earn a monthly gross package of Sh1,155,000, their deputies Sh924,000, both majority and minority leaders Sh765,188 and the legislators Sh621,250.

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