Greedy MPs go on another spending spree

The greedy MPs continue to exploit taxpayers.

A general view taken on March 26, 2015 in Nairobi shows the Kenyan parliament, as President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses two Houses the Senate and the National Assembly. President Kenyatta's speech comes against the backdrop of rising corruption and insecurity in the country. AFP PHOTO/SIMON MAINA (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP via Getty Images)

Dear Kenyan, as you struggled to make ends meet, your Members of Parliament spent Sh703.1 million on foreign trips in just three months, from April to June.

According to data from the Controller of Budget, this was the highest quarterly spend since Kenya started making public travel spend in 2013.

In comparison, between January and March this year, the MPs spent Sh. 49.87 million on flight tickets, accommodation and allowances.

So, what was the reason behind this 1,309.8 percent spending increase?

A circular from the Parliamentary Service Commission shows that lawmakers from both the Senate and the National Assembly earn Sh.143,493 per diem a night in Singapore— making the Asian nation the most lucrative in allowances.

Lawmakers earn Sh.132,421 in per diem on trips to the US, followed by London where they get Sh122,677 per night and Sh.122,013 in Swiss cities that include Geneva.

Trips to Dubai, another popular destination for training and benchmarking trips for MPs, earn lawmakers Sh.98,430 in per diem.

The travel is said to have occurred while Kenyans were grappling with lockdown measures that included cessation of all movement into and out of five counties: Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu, Nakuru, said to be disease infected areas.

The spending craze on foreign trips in the three months to June came amid claims that lawmakers were in a rush to exhaust the budgetary allocations on foreign trips in the year.

Funds that are not spent by the end of the financial year are supposed to be returned to the Exchequer.

The historic-high spending on foreign trips came despite the Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani saying non-core travel for State officials remained suspended.

The Treasury has flagged foreign trips by top State officials as an example of wastage of public funds due to the huge delegations and high per diems.

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