The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) says it will pursue legal action to stop payment of house allowances to legislators as well as recover the paid funds.
Terming it as illegal, the move by the Parliamentary Service Commission to pay the 416 legislators Ksh250,000 each monthly, SRC has maintained that setting and reviewing packages for state officers is legally a reserve of the commission.
The move by PSC to pay parliamentarians the hefty perks has elicited public outcry.
Each of the 416 MPs received Sh2.25 million over and above their monthly pay in April being the backdated amount for the contentious allowance.
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For both the Senate and National Assembly, taxpayers will now be shouldering an extra burden of Ksh 104 million every month to house the legislators who already have a subsidized mortgage scheme.
MPs are already entitled to Sh20 million mortgage charged at three per cent.
SRC maintains the commission has overstepped its mandate.
“Article 260 of the Constitution categorizes Members of Parliament as State Officers and as such, determination of their remuneration and benefits is the exclusive responsibility of SRC. Payment of any remuneration and benefits, which have not been set or advised by SRC is in violation of the Constitution” said SRC chairperson Mrs Lyn Mengich
Mengich said if allowed, the move will open spiral of demands from other state officers.
She further says the payment is a duplication of benefits already included in the gross pay as stipulated under the Gazette Notice No. 6517 of 2017.
According to the notice, gross pay of Members of the Senate and Members of the National Assembly stands at Ksh 621,250 which the commission says includes a housing allowance.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has strongly defended the hefty perks on MPs’ house allowances saying that they deserve it.
Muturi said the perks were well guided by Justice Chacha Mwita’s ruling on October 5, 2018, that State Officers qualify for this benefit.
“The notion that MPs are not concerned about Kenya’s wage bill is fallacious. Kenyans must not allow the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to be selective and discriminatory in its determination. A housing benefit is extended to all Public Servants &State Officers alike” he said on his Twitter account.