Two former Speakers of Parliament and a retired Chief Justice are locked in a standoff with Treasury officials over their demands for lavish retirement perks that include a bulletproof fuel guzzler, backdated retirement benefits and a higher pension pay scale.
Former National Assembly Speaker Francis ole Kaparo has demanded, among his other generous pension benefits, an armoured four-wheel-drive 3000cc engine vehicle bought and fuelled by taxpayers.
Former Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro and retired Chief Justice Willy Mutunga are also demanding additional millions in retirement benefits, arguing that the Treasury used wrong figures to calculate their exit packages and monthly pension payments.
After leaving office, Dr Mutunga publicly declared that he was worth Sh80 million, adding that he earned a net salary of Sh50 million in the five years he served as CJ.
The two, according to correspondence with the Treasury seen by the Business Daily, want the Pensions Department to base their pension pay outs on their last gross salaries, estimated at about Sh2 million, and not the lower figures quoted by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), which places the Speakers’ basic salary at Sh693,000 and that of the former Chief Justice at Sh796,732.
If implemented, the higher pay scale will offer Mr Ethuro and Dr Mutunga Sh1.6 million in monthly pension, lump sum payoffs of Sh24 million each and monthly fuel perks of Sh300,000 each.
However, the Treasury says pension pay outs are guided by the SRC pay scales that offer the former CJ an estimated monthly pension of Sh637,386, a lump sum payout of Sh15.9 million and a monthly fuel allowance of Sh199,183.
Similarly, Mr Ethuro is entitled to a monthly pension of Sh554,400, a lump sum send-off of Sh13.8 million and monthly fuel allowance of Sh173,250.
The Deputy President and Designated State Officers Act provides hefty monthly pension pay outs equivalent to 80 percent of the last salary of retired CJs and Speakers.
This is in addition to a golden handshake equivalent to one-year salary and a fuel allowance equivalent to 15 percent of their last pay.
If the Treasury yields to their demands, Mr Ethuro and Dr Mutunga’s monthly take-home payment will surpass President Uhuru Kenyatta’s official salary of Sh1.4 million.
It also puts the benefits of the two higher than the salaries and benefits of top chief executives of State corporations listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange such as Kenya Power and KenGen.
“Mr Ethuro and Dr Mutunga want more money based on their last pay cheque, but we are guided by the basic and not gross SRC pay structure,” a top Treasury official who sought anonymity citing the sensitivity of the matter said.
“Kaparo demanded an armoured car, arguing that he comes from an area prone to banditry. Again, the State transport policy does not back this demand. But he is pushing.”
Mr Kaparo’s push is emboldened by the law, which does not expressly ban armoured car benefits but only specifies the provision of a four-wheel, 3000cc engine capacity vehicle, replaceable every four years.
He is also entitled to a saloon car of 1,800cc. A 2,986cc Toyota Prado LJ is currently retailing at Sh7.1 million, but additional millions are needed to turn it into an armoured car.
Car dealers say that it could cost an additional Sh9 million for top armour protection where the Prado is encased with ballistic steel that can withstand a barrage of bullets from an AK-47 rifle.
Under the Retirement Benefits Act, retired officials, including Speakers of Parliament, CJs and their deputies as well deputy presidents get over-the-top retirement benefits.
Retired CJs were included in the law in April 2017 after changes to the Act, nearly a year after Dr Mutunga had retired. He wants to be paid for 10 months between his retirement and when the law was enacted.
“The former CJ wants the pension benefits to be backdated to his retirement date yet he was not part of the law,” the Treasury source said.
By Daily Nation