MPs line up billions for Raila, Ruto and Kalonzo
Members of Parliament are lining up hefty retirement packages for senior state retirees stretching back to 1993.
A Bill by Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina will see Deputy President William Ruto, former Prime Minister RailaOdinga and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka rake in billions of shillings cumulative as retirement benefits should it sail through the august House.
The three belong to an exclusive club of leaders who have dominated the political scene for three decades.
The amendment will also see NASA co-principals Railaand Kalonzo finally receive their pension which they had been denied for engaging in active politics. Mr Kina’s Bill removes this condition.
Other state officers covered by The Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) (Amendment) Bill, 2018 include Speakers of the National Assembly and Senate as well as the Chief Justice and his Deputy.
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A 2013 estimate by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) showed that taxpayers will fork out annually close to Sh500 million as pensions for these retired state officers. However, after the SRC revised upwards salaries for these state officers, the figure might have touched a high of Sh1 billion.
Working with the conservative figure of Sh500 million, a retirement package to these retired state officials will leave a hole of Sh2.5 billion in state coffers.
This comes a week after revelations that MPs had awarded themselves a 700 per cent increment in retirement benefits, raising a storm. Saturday, the mover of the Bill denied that he was burdening further the taxpayers.
“The idea is really to seal loopholes and recognise people who served this country,” he said.
“There is nothing the taxpayer is suffering from. My Bill has got nothing to do with taxpayers losing money; my bill has to get everything to do with a law that had already been passed, and now I am sealing the loopholes in that law,” said Kina.
The Speakers likely to benefit from the law if passed are Justin Muturi, Ken Lusaka and their predecessors Ekwe Ethuro, Kenneth Marende and Francis ole Kaparo.
Besides the current Chief Justice David Maraga, ex-CJs Willy Mutunga, Evans Gicheru and Bernard Chunga will benefit from the proposed retirement package.
The Senate will start public hearings on The Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) (Amendment) Bill, 2018.
Should the Bill be enacted by both houses and be assented to, the DP would be entitled to a lump-sum retirement package of over 84 million, according to initial estimates.
Mr Ruto is entitled to a monthly pay of between Sh1.05 million and Sh1.4 million — effectively capping his annual pay at Sh16.8 million.
The law was declared unconstitutional by the High Court in 2015, with the judge noting that the legislators never consulted the SRC, as required in law.
The Vice Presidents covered include the late George Saitoti and Micheal Kijana Wamalwa, Musalia Mudavadi, Moody Awori and Kalonzo. The list of beneficiaries goes back to 1993.
“Where an entitled person dies in service after the commencement of this Act, a lump sum payment on death calculated as a sum equal to five times the entitled person’s annual salary shall become payable to the entitled person’s legal personal representatives,” reads part of the Bill.
And where an entitled person dies in service after the commencement of this Act, a beneficiary of their choice will be entitled to a lump sum payment valued at about five times their annual salary.
However, Mudavadi, who only served as Vice President for three months might not get the full benefits as outlined in the proposed law. Instead, the NASA principal will be entitled to a gratuity paid at the end of his service at the rate of thirty-one per cent of the entitled person’s salary while in office.
He will also be given one armed security guard who shall be provided upon his request. Mudavadi, together with his spouse, shall also be entitled to a diplomatic passport and will be allowed access to the VIP. lounge at all airports within Kenya.
In an interview with Sunday Standard, Ole Kina said the Bill is meant to ensure the rights of leaders who have played a critical role in the governance system are respected.
“They (leaders) should be treated with honor. I have lobbied my colleagues from both sides of the House and I am sure it will sail through,” he said when asked about the Bill that is before the Senate Labour and Social Welfare Committee.
The committee will conduct public hearings on Bill on Wednesday next week, according to an advertisement placed in the dailies Saturday.