The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has completed a review of the pensions of the 23,811 teachers who retired in 1997.
TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia told the National Assembly’s Education Committee on Tuesday that they had submitted 16,523 revised claims to the Director of Pensions at the Treasury.
“More than 7,358 claims are ready for submission,” she told the committee chaired by Mr Julius Melly (Tinderet MP).
This means that the teachers are now likely to get their pension arrears estimated to be more than Sh17 billion.
“TSC only processes the payments while the Director of Pensions pays and, therefore, any delay cannot be blamed on us,” she told the committee at County Hall, Nairobi, in a meeting that was also attended by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.
She said the law should be amended to allow the commission to pay retired teachers in order to avoid the inconveniences they go through.
Already, the committee has promised to propose an amendment to the pensions law to enable the commission to handle teachers after retirement in order to end the agony of waiting several years to get their pensions.
The pension will be paid out to teachers who had been in service when the government agreed to pay salary increases of up to 150 per cent in five phases beginning from 1997.
But the government reneged after the first payment, only for the deal to be renegotiated in 2003 and the agreement implemented until 2007.
Since the initial 1997 deal was to be paid in two phases until 2001, teachers who retired between those years moved to court demanding to be paid their share since they could have benefited from the deal had it been paid on time.
The High Court, in its judgment on October 23, 2008, ordered the TSC to process pension based on the salary award in the 1997 agreement.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers chairman Omboko Milemba, who is also the Emuhaya MP, welcomed the announcement, but demanded that all families be paid including those of teachers who have since died.
“It’s good to know that they will be paid after a long struggle,” said Mr Milemba.
The case was filed in the High Court in Nakuru against the TSC by the teachers who were in service between July 1, 1997 and June 30, 2003 but had since retired.
They sought orders “for the declaration that together with other retired teachers they were entitled to retirement benefits inclusive of all other benefits provided for in the 1997 agreement”.
As a result of the case, the High Court in its judgement on October 23, 2008 ordered TSC to process pension based on the salary award in the 1997 agreement
Attempts by the TSC and the Attorney General to lodge an appeal against the Judgment failed as higher courts re-affirmed the judgment of the High Court thereby dismissing the Appeal.
TSC was also ordered to pay costs of the suit in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
At some point, the retired teachers moved the High Court seeking orders to hold in contempt, the former Commission Secretary Gabriel Lengoiboni.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (Kuppet) Chairman and now Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba welcomed the development but demanded that all families should be paid including those who have since died.
“It is good that they will be paid after a long struggle,” said Mr Milemba.
The more than 52,000 retired teachers have been pursuing the release of Sh42.3 billion salaries and pension arrears from the government for the last 18 years.