The Auditor General, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Director of Public Prosecutions are sleeping on their jobs as it has since emerged that MPs are stealing millions of taxpayers’ money in the name of mileage claims.
To date, MPs have been pocketing a total Sh150 million per month which translates into Sh1.8 billion per year.Some MPs are paid Sh600,000 per week as mileage expenses translating intoSh2.4 million per member per month.
MPs claim mileage when they travel to their constituencies.
The provision allows for MPs to be reimbursed the money they use to travel to their local constituencies based on the kilometres covered from Nairobi. This system is prone to abuse as members do not have to prove that they travelled to their constituencies for reimbursement to be actualised. It is automatic for members to be given their mileage reimbursement on a weekly basis whether they travel or not as the same is paid whether they are in session or on recess. The members are entitled to a Sh5 million grant to purchase a vehicle for their term in parliament. Kenya’s MPs are the most highly paid in this region and on top of this they are paid sitting allowances.
The four state organs responsible for protection of public funds have totally failed or compromised by the members as they do not take any action against this blatant theft, it is said. These members should be charged with the offence of false claims by persons employed in the public service contrary to section 101 of the state law and stealing by persons in the public service contrary to section 280 of the penal code. The offender charged under these sections of the penal code is liable for imprisonment for a period of more than seven years on each count. To prove this in court of law is simple. The officers investigating this matter need to check the movements of a particular MP for example when a member is attending a seminar or a parliamentary committee in a Mombasa hotel and has traveled by Kenya Airways and is driven by the hotel courtesy van or taxi from Moi International Airport to the function. He or she will stay in Mombasa from Thursday to Tuesday, dropped to the airport, take a flight back and upon arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport he is picked by his driver or takes a taxi to his residence or parliament.
He will claim mileage for the duration he was in Mombasa pretending that he had traveI1ed to his constituency either in Western, Rift Valley, Eastern or North Eastern province covering a distance of his usual 2000 kilometres. He is paid without verification and the matter ends there. You are not required to show any receipts or any form of prove.
What the DCI, Eacc, Auditor General and the DPP should do is only to go to the airport and request for manifest for the day the member travelled. This will contain all the information including ticket number, seat number, time of the flight, destination and of course name of the member. Then go to Mombasa, the hotel he stayed request for the list of the occupancy and duration stayed and purpose of stay in the hotel. Come back to Nairobi and to complete the case file by looking for the car he alleged to have travelled in as per the payment voucher. You may find the vehicle was in the garage for either minor, major repairs or written off. You may also discover that the vehicle was sold off to another person or the registration (number plate) indicated is a trailer, a lorry, a matatu or bus.
It is remembered that when a senator from Western accompanied Raila Odinga to Coast province for a tour where an insane man in Kilifi whipped him on his back complaining that he had danced with his wife, he was paid over Sh200,000 claiming that he was in Kakamega county during the same duration. This evidence is lying in parliament available for DCI, EACC, Auditor General and DPP. John Munyes allegedly used to pocket Sh1.4m per month whether he travelled to Turkana or not. An MP from North Eastern pockets Sh1.8m every month and most of the weekends you will find him in Nairobi moving from one hotel to another meeting business associates.
Legislators from Kisii claim to use longer routes to make a kill when in true sense they use the shorter Nairobi, Narok, Kisii road. Led by Jimmy Angwenyi, they allegedly claim to travel all the way to Kericho and Kisumu and then to Kisii.
Opposition chief whip in parliament Jakoyo Midiwo is also in the scam. He has an official car at his disposal to use but surprisingly has been making suspicious claims. Another MP from Turkana who flies using a 540 plane to Lokichogio has been making claims.
Since 1997, some members of the parliament have pocketed more than Sh360m as mileage claims.
The country is watching the officials of the Auditor General, DPP, DCI and Eacc wondering whether they are protecting the members of parliament from their region, or whether they are coerced, share the loot, inexperienced, neglecting their duties or admiring to be members of parliament in future and also take advantage of the unverified mileage claims. They should also remember that there is an offence of abetting and aiding a crime. Neglect of official duty contrary to section 128 of the penal code and frauds and breaches of trust by persons employed in the public service contrary to section 127 of the penal code should be applied in this country in order to deal with both the offenders and nonperforming government officials, failing in their duties.