The Salaries and Remuneration Commission has declared the hefty exit package that MPs have awarded themselves illegal and promised to consider moving to court to block it.
Commission chairperson Sarah Serem condemned the move saying it is unconstitutional.
She said such payments can only be effected by the Commission. “The decision by Parliament was therefore null and void and will be fought in the courts if necessary,” she said. (READ: MPs award themselves Sh2bn bonus in secret deal)
The Salaries and Remuneration Commission was established by the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 with the mandate to set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of all State Officers and to advise the national and county governments on the remuneration and benefits of all other public officers.
The secret move has provoked outrage from Kenyans who have reacted angrily terming it selfish.
The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution has also declared the package unlawful. The commission said changes made by MPs to the Finance Act sneaking in the hefty package was unconstitutional.
Its chairman Mr Charles Nyachae said the commission is ready to challenge the package if President Mwai Kibaki goes ahead to assent the Finance Bill into law to allow for implementation of the controversial package.
Each of the 222 MPs is set to receive a Sh9.3 million sendoff package as a result of the hush-hush manoeuvre by the MPs as the clock ticks to the next general election.
MPs on Thursday night sneaked amendments to the Finance Bill and overwhelmingly voted to award themselves the Sh2 billion gratuities at the end of their term.
National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende and Attorney-General Githu Muigai who are ex-officio members of Parliament—will take home Sh9.3 million at the end of their term that ends on January 15, 2013, if President Kibaki clears the package with a signature.
Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) Vice Chairman Adan Keynan introduced amendments to the National Assembly Remuneration Act pegging MPs severance allowance at the rate of 31 per cent of the gross remuneration payable to the legislators each month.
The severance pay includes the salary, constituency allowance, nominated members allowance, ex-officio members allowance, House allowance, extraneous allowance, transport allowance, entertainment allowance and vehicle fixed cost allowance.
The gross pay each member takes home every month is Sh851,000. MPs approved the amendment that was not listed in the Order Paper without any debate at about 8.40pm on Thursday night.
As a result, they will earn gratuity at 31 per cent of the salary for every year in service, in respect of the period up to August 26, 2010 and at the same rate after the promulgation of the new Constitution on August 27, 2010. Last year, the legislators amended the Finance Bill 2011 to increase their severance perks to Sh3.3 million each (Sh300,000 per month).
Civil society groups went to court to challenge the matter and a ruling is yet to be made.