, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 11 – Attorney General Githu Muigai now says Members of Parliament should not start celebrating just yet, arguing that their hefty send-off package may be illegitimate.
Muigai told Capital FM News that President Mwai Kibaki had already rejected a similar amendment made by lawmakers to the Finance Bill late last year.
“A constitutional question arises as to whether the amendment can be introduced through another Bill. The issue will have to be resolved before assent or rejection,” Muigai said pointing out that he would advise the president accordingly.
MPs sneaked in amendments to the law passed on Wednesday night granting themselves Sh9.3 million in gratuity plus several other benefits once they leave office.
The lawmakers also want to be issued with diplomatic passports including their spouses, in addition to unlimited access to VIP lounges in all airports within Kenya to reduce the ‘hustles’ they go through whenever they travel, even in their retirement.
The MPs also want each of them assigned an armed bodyguard and should be accorded a State funeral when they die.
The amendment states that a retired Member of Parliament shall be entitled to a gratuity at a rate of 31 percent of the 200,000 basic salary for every year in service, until August 27, 2010 when the Constitution was promulgated.
Parliament further approved the President Retirement Benefits Bill 2012 which will see President Kibaki receive a Sh25 million package as retirement benefit and Sh1 million monthly for the rest of his life.
The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the Commission for the Implementation of Constitution have appealed to the president to reject law since it’s illegal.
They have warned they will seek legal redress if the legislators do not reconsider the move.
The SRC chairperson Sarah Serem says the move by MPs is unconstitutional, since it’s only the salaries commission that can award public servants such bonuses.