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Court extends orders blocking MPs’ perks

The High Court yesterday extended orders barring the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) from paying MPs a house allowance of Sh250,000 each.

Justice John Makau extended the orders, issued by Justice John Mativo on May 31, to June 24.

Judge Mativo had directed PSC to stop making the payments until a petition filed by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) is determined. SRC moved to court seeking to recover the MPs’ house allowances, which it argues are unconstitutional.

Yesterday, Justice Makau (pictured) also ordered that two petitions filed by activist Okiya Omtatah and SRC be heard together as they raise similar issues.

He further directed the parties to file their submissions within seven days before the hearing date. This development came after PSC filed an application seeking to block the  orders stopping it from paying over 400 MPs the house allowances.

Cripple performance

PSC, through lawyer Tom Ojienda, said it is heavily aggrieved by the orders as they could cripple the lawmakers’ performance of their functions under Article 97, 95 and 96 of the Constitution.

“That the ex parte orders were obtained through non-disclosure of material fact, material misrepresentation of the facts and in violation of the Constitution and should be set aside,” says the body.

“That PSC is providing MPs with facilitation to enable them to obtain accommodation or housing while in Nairobi on Parliamentary business,” says court papers.

In April, legislators awarded themselves Sh250,000 monthly house allowances and backdated them to October 2018.

SRC opposed the move and warned the scheme would result in loss of public funds in excess of Sh99.5 million per month and Sh1.194 billion annually. Each of the 416 MPs, including 67 senators, was to get the allowance.

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