MPs ordered to pay back Ksh1.2B house allowance they illegally awarded themselves


File image of legislators in the National Assembly. PHOTO| COURTESY
File image of legislators in the National Assembly. PHOTO| COURTESY

Members of Parliament will be required to pay back almost Ksh.1.2 billion in house allowance they illegally awarded themselves.

This is the amount MPs have accrued since controversially awarding themselves house allowance in 2018; the High Court now ordering Parliamentary clerks to recover the monies within 12 months.

Every single Parliamentarian, both in the Senate and the National Assembly, will have to dig deep into their pockets to refund at least Ksh.1.75 million in house allowances paid since August 2018.

The Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) had awarded the 418 legislators with a house allowance of Ksh.250,000 per month, which they received for 7 months before the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) received a court order stopping the payments.

In the High Court ruling, the three-judge bench of Lady Justice Pauline Nyamweya, Justices Weldon Korir and John Mativo ordered the clerks of the National Assembly and Senate to recover in full the house allowance from the salaries and allowances of the MPs.

The court quashed the directive by the PSC to award the MPs house allowances and backdating them to August 2018 indicating it violated the structures set by the SRC.

PSC was faulted for going ahead to award the allowances without the approval of SRC, the court indicating PSC wrongfully arrogated itself the exclusive mandate of SRC in setting salaries and allowances for state officers.

In the petition filed by SRC and activist Okiya Omtata, the duo indicated Parliament secretly awarded itself a monthly allowance of Ksh.250,000 to each of the 418 MPs without SRC’s approval backdating the payments to August 2018.

In opposing the payments, Omtata claimed the legislators house allowance amounted to double payment as the Parliamentarians gross pay has their house allowance already factored in according to SRC’s scheme of payment; as such, the court ruled that PSC cannot set and award MPs house allowances as that is the exclusive preserve and function of the SRC.

But in a quick rejoinder, the clerk of the National Assembly Micheal Sialai, who is also the secretary to the PSC, played down the figure paid to MPs indicating that the National Assembly had only paid Ksh.357 million in allowance in five and a half months before SRC obtained a court order stopping them; thereby stating that MPs will only be required to pay back Ksh.1 million.

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Story By Sam Ogina
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