Chief Justice David Maraga has been requested to appoint a three-judge bench to determine the dispute over MPs’ house allowance which the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) is contesting.
Monday, High Court Judge Weldon Korir extended orders earlier obtained by the SRC stopping the Parliamentary Service Commission from further paying MPs the Sh250,000 monthly house allowance.
The judge said that following consent of all parties in the case, “the deputy registrar is hereby directed to forward the file to the Chief Justice for consideration of a bench of three or other uneven number.” SRC, through lawyer Peter Wanyama, is seeking to stop implementation of the house allowance and recovery of the money already paid to the MPs.
SRC wants the clerks of the Senate and National Assembly directed to recover from MPs any allowance paid, “pursuant to the illegal and unconstitutional decision” to pay house allowance outside the constitutional structure of remuneration and benefits of State officers in Parliament.
Alternatively, the commission wants the court to hold personally members of the PSC and secretary of the commission Jeremiah Nyegenye responsible for payment of the allowances to MPs. The PSC has also filed an application seeking to set aside the interim order obtained by SRC.
Mr Korir however directed that the two cases, including another filed by activist Okiya Omtatah, be heard together.
Parliament recently made good its threat to cut the budget of the SRC after the commission obtained a court order blocking MPs from earning Sh250,000 monthly house allowance.
The Budget and Appropriations Committee slashed Sh104.6 million from the SRC’s budget for travel, entertainment, hiring professionals and new offices.
The committee cut the SRC budget to Sh545.3 million from Sh649.9 million for the financial year starting July.
Some of the items that faced budget cuts were travel costs, which will be down by Sh22 million, entertainment (Sh16.2 million) as well as training expenses slashed by Sh9.8 million.