A bench of five judges of the Supreme Court has dismissed an application by members of Parliament to delay the recovery of Sh1.2 billion that was paid to them four years ago as accommodation allowances.
The top court said the application by Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) was premature because the appeal, challenging a decision that found the allowances illegal, was yet to be determined.
The PSC had argued that allowing the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to recover the amount would make the appeal useless once the money has been refunded.
“Having carefully considered the application, responses and submissions by the respective parties herein, we find no merit in the application, and we accordingly dismiss it,” said Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu alongside Justices Smokin Wanjala, Njoki Ndung’u, Isaac Lenaola and William Ouko.
The judges said in the absence of a substantive judgment from the Court of Appeal, the application was premature and does not meet the threshold on the right to be heard in any case involving the interpretation or application of the Constitution.
The High Court had in 2020 ordered SRC to recover the money saying the allowances are illegal because the Constitution and statutes do not give the PSC powers to set the salaries and allowances of MPs and parliamentary staff.
The court also faulted PSC for encroaching on the mandate of SRC by granting the MPs house allowance of Sh250,000 each and backdating it to 2018.
The MPs then moved to the Court of Appeal asking for the suspension of the decision but it was declined, forcing them to rush to the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeal said if the MPs succeed, SRC will pay the arrears.