The Treasury’s plan to purchase office space for retired President Mwai Kibaki at Sh700 million suffered a blow after a House committee rejected the proposal.
The Budget and Appropriations Committee said the amount requested was “too high” and a mockery of the Treasury’s call for prudent expenditure of public funds.
It consequently sent the team back to the drawing board after interrogating the proposal submitted by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.
The 51-member committee argued that the Treasury had many other options at its disposal, including plenty of office space owing to the reduction of the number of ministries as well as the rationalisation of the national government.
The committee also suggested acquiring one floor at the building where the Office of the Deputy President is, arguing that it would be more realistic.
Mr Richard Onyonka (Bonchari, ODM) questioned whether the decision was informed by any policy. He said that it would be costly to the taxpayer should a new president be elected every five years.
The Treasury made the request based on the Presidential Retirement Benefits Act. Under the Act, a retired president shall, during his lifetime, be entitled to office space not exceeding 1,000 square metres, with appropriate furniture, office machines, equipment and office supplies, to be provided and maintained by the government.
According to the Principal Administrative Secretary in the Cabinet Office, Mr Stephen Kirago, the Treasury conducted a search for a suitable property to house the former President’s office.
There were three properties that were considered and the National Intelligence Service was consulted on the security of each before the Treasury team settled on the Sh700 million one in Gigiri.
Budget and Appropriations Committee chairman Mutava Musyimi said: “What you are asking us to do is to break the law in broad daylight.”