MPs return Sh460m ‘irregular allowances’
Members of Parliament have completed the repayment of the Sh460 million allowances that the court found they earned illegally, Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai has said.
Mr Sialai confirmed to the Nation yesterday that they have deducted the entire amount from MPs to recover the money in order to fully comply with the court order.
“We have now fully complied with the court order; the end of June was the last deduction,” Mr Sialai said.
He revealed that between Sh169, 000 and Sh172,000 was deducted from each member every month.
The Parliament Service Commission (PSC), which is the MPs’ employer through the National Assembly Clerk and his Senate counterpart, started deducting the money in December last year.
The move dealt a major blow to some of the lawmakers whose payslips are reading zero or negative due to various financial commitments.
It also negatively impacted those MPs fighting to retain their seats or seeking other elective positions such as gubernatorial positions, which require a financial war chest.
“Some members opted to pay out what they owed in cash while for others we had to do the monthly deductions which we are now done with, so there is no member that is finishing his term with that public debt,” Mr Sialai said.
The lawmakers are in office until August 8, 2022 but have been encouraged to clear with Parliament before then to enable the Clerk’s office to prepare for the 13th Parliament.
For the constituency staff, they were supposed to clear by July 7.
“It was a painful decision but we had to do it in compliance with the court order,” Mr Sialai said.
Sources told the Nation that for some MPs who had negatives in their payslips, money had to be recovered through their sitting and mileage allowances.
“We had to go into their mileage allowances to get that money before their term ends,” the source said.
From 2018 to December 10, 2020 when the High Court issued the order, each of the 418 legislators used to earn a monthly pay of Sh250, 000 for accommodation and house allowance, an amount that lacked the approval of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
The decision by the PSC to pay MPs the allowance was made on April 24, 2019 and the payments were backdated to October 2018.
During the period of 26 months, each MP had received cumulatively Sh6.5 million.
SRC, however, went to court challenging the decision.
The High Court bench comprising Justices Pauline Nyamweya, Weldon Korir and John Mativo agreed with SRC and ruled that the Constitution and statutes do not give the PSC any specific function to set salaries and allowances of MPs and parliamentary staff.
The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal last year. The lawmakers through their employer PSC, however, moved to stop the implementation of the order until the Supreme Court hears and determines the matter.