AG’s austerity policy on commissions ‘nonsense’ – Ombudsman

February 18, 2016 9:19 am

, OTIENDE-AMOLLONAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 18 – The Ombudsman has described as “complete nonsense” the Attorney General’s argument that making commissioners part-time will help the country save money.

While Otiende Amollo does support rationalisation in the number of commission members, he opposes making commissioners part-time for several reasons.

The first of which is that it could end up costing the tax payer significantly more.

“Part-time commissioners earn much more than those of us who are full-time because we can attend a hundred meetings in a week and we’ll not be paid a cent. But as long as you’re part-time, the many meetings you attend there’s an allowance.

“If you analyse the allowances of JSC I’m sure you’ll find it’s higher than the pay of those of us who are full-time so I think it’s completely defeatist.”

READ: Austerity policy to apply to all independent Commissions

He says the pre-supposition that commissioners can work part-time is based on the faulty premise that they don’t have much to do.

Something he said was not true for all commissions. “I for one do three times what I used to do in my law firm and quite honestly I’m quite happy to leave.”

Which is why unlike National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, he doesn’t believe the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) members should be reduced so drastically from the current nine to the constitutional three member minimum.

READ: Slash IEBC Commissioners to 3 – Speaker Muturi

He says by making commissioners part-time, commission operations could also be compromised.

“The powers of the commissioners do not diminish whether you make them part-time or full-time. So you will be having somebody who is part-time and therefore does not understand fully what is going on in a commission, but who has the executive authority over those who are there full-time. And that’s what we have at EACC now, it is inappropriate.”

The conflict of interest that could be created by making commissioners part time, Amollo argues, would also be inappropriate.

“Can you imagine the case of EACC; a Commissioner of EACC who is practicing and who somebody approaches to defend them in a corruption matter? Nothing stops them from defending that person.

And you can imagine they might be defending a case that was investigated by EACC over whom they have authority. So I support the idea of reducing the number of commissioners once the current ones have served their term but the idea of making them part-time is complete nonsense.

Similar to any idea of merging commissions because each has a distinctive jurisdiction.”


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