NAIROBI, Kenya, May 29 – The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has warned the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) against paying MPs anything above the set Sh532,000 saying it will face legal action.
SRC Chairperson Sarah Serem told journalists on Wednesday that the PSC would be committing a crime if MPs took home the Sh851,000 they have been demanding.
She maintained that MPs’ pay remained as set by the SRC because the commission is not mandated by law to gazette such notices before effecting the pay structures for both State and public officers.
She noted that the move by the lawmakers purporting to overturn the gazette notice was inconsequential because salaries set by the SRC are automatic and do not require Parliament’s approval.
“SRC was not required by law to gazette the salaries and remuneration of State officers; what was law is the setting and determination of that. The gazettement for us was a good practice and for public information,” she argued.
Legislators on Tuesday ‘adopted’ a motion seeking to de-gazette a notice published by the SRC in March in a move that they thought would annul their pay structures as set.
In 2011, the Speaker of the 10th Parliament Kenneth Marende also said that MPs salaries were governed by the National Assembly Remuneration Act.
Serem however explained that the Constitution supersedes any Act of Parliament stressing that the SRC would remain faithful to its responsibilities as set by the Constitution and to the people of Kenya.
“We operated within the Constitution and since we operated within the law, anybody who acts outside this law in pursuant of payment will have acted unlawfully and will be held liable for abuse of office and aiding in the misuse of public funds,” she said.
During the debate surrounding the gazette notice on Tuesday, Serem once again became the centre of discussion with MPs taking a swing at her for setting their pay structure.
Serem took the hit from the legislators who accused her of incompetence and exposing them to public ridicule.
She however said that she and her fellow commissioners would continue carrying out their duties diligently and would not be cowed by such attacks.
“We took allegiance to this office; we swore that we would do and work without fear or favour and we are moving to do that,” she stressed.
“It is not going to stop us from doing our job because our mandate goes beyond one stakeholder. It goes to the people of Kenya.”
She further revealed that the commission was in the process of looking into the grievances of County Assembly representatives who pocket a gross pay of Sh79,000.
“We are moving into the counties and we want to look at some of the issues that they have picked up which we may not have been quite aware of at the time of the setting,” she said.