MPs go all the way to china to buy office chairs

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After 200.00Ksh seats in Parliament,they want additional unnecessary expense: Members of a parliamentary team plan to send a delegation on a window-shopping tour of China next month.

The trip is meant to facilitate the procurement of office chairs for MPs’ offices at County Hall.

Majority of the members of the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) are pushing Speaker Justin Muturi to authorise the trip for the MPs. Mr Muturi is the chairman of the commission.

Only a small fraction of commission members have criticised the trip, describing it as a waste of public resources.

The Nation established that efforts by two senators, Mrs Beth Mugo (Nominated) and Mr Sammy Leshorre (Samburu) to convince their colleagues to opt for a local supplier of the furniture had failed.

Mr Muturi on Thursday said that although the China trip was not necessary, he was powerless to stop it.

It is not prudent

“I cannot stop them. Wengi wape (let the majority prevail) but it is not prudent,” he said.

Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyengenye said he had no say in the decision by members to go to China.

“A decision as to whether there will be a trip or not is the PSC’s. In my role as the secretary, I only implement the decision of the PSC. If they do make it, I will facilitate,” he said.

A return ticket to Beijing costs Sh85,000 ($985) while a hotel room goes for between Sh26,000 ($300) and Sh43,000 ($500). If they decide to fly to Shanghai, the air ticket price rises to Sh91,000 ($1,056). The PSC is a nine-member commission that oversees the welfare of MPs, Senators and staff of the two houses.

MPs are paid about Sh78,000 ($920) as allowances per day while touring Asian cities, including Beijing, Dubai and Singapore according to the current parliamentary travel rate card.

Last year, some members of the commission flew to Israel to window-shop for furniture meant for the renovated chamber, but Parliament later opted to buy the seats from Kenya Prisons.

At the time, the commission had come up with a specification and approved a sample that would have cost taxpayers Sh400,000 for one seat.

Today, the parliamentary leadership including all members of the PSC, the two Speakers, the Leaders of Majority and Minority, the Whips from both the Senate and the National Assembly, the clerks and the heads of various directorates are in Mombasa for a retreat.

The meeting is expected to discuss administrative measures to be rolled out in the National Assembly in the coming days.

Some officials in the National Assembly have called for measures to stop wasteful use of public resources.

They say MPs were coming up with unnecessary meetings and foreign trips with the sole purpose of claiming allowances.

 

“MPs have already made gains by winning over huge salaries. It is not fair for them to trap more benefits by making frivolous meetings just for purposes of claiming allowances,” said one MP who is a member of the delegation expected in Mombasa.

Allocation of official cars to PSC members has also raised concerns. Some MPs want the commission to stick to an earlier policy that only a few cars are pooled for use by the commissioners who are already beneficiaries of the negotiated Sh5 million car grant.

Besides Mr Muturi, the members of the PSC are Mrs Mugo (vice-chairperson), Senators Sammy Leshore and David Musila and MPs Aden Keynan, Jimmy Angwenyi, Gladys Wanga, Regina Chengorok and Nyegenye.-nation.co.ke

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