The total amount of money paid to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, in salaries and benefits for the year to June 2016 was four times that set by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), Auditor-Geneal Edward Ouko says.
Mr Ouko says a trail of pay transactions for the Office of the President under the Consolidated Fund Services shows Sh148 million instead of Sh36.6 million in line with the payroll data.
Payments to the Office of the President through the CFS comprise salaries and benefits of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto. This means that the average monthly costs of Mr Kenyatta’s pay and benefits and those of his deputy are Sh12.33 million.
But the payroll account, which normally excludes allowances paid to civil servants, puts Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto’s pay at Sh36.6 million — matching the pay approved by the SRC for the period starting 2013 to June 2017.
Under the lapsed four-year SRC pay guide, Mr Kenyatta was entitled to a salary range of between Sh1.23 million and Sh1.65 million monthly, putting his maximum annual pay at Sh19.8 million.
Mr Ruto is entitled to a monthly pay of between Sh1.05 million and Sh1.4 million — effectively capping his annual pay at Sh16.8 million. But the CFS accounts indicated a pay of Sh148 million with Mr Ouko questioning the variance of Sh111.8 million.
Sources at the Treasury reckon the Sh111 million could be the President and his deputy’s benefits and perks.
The Treasury in a separate budget estimate document had shown the two executives will enjoy a combined allowances package of Sh14.6 million a year. A breakdown of the allowances was not disclosed.
In July, SRC cut the pay of State officers, including that of the President and his deputy to ease pressure on the wage bill. The commission said the cuts will save taxpayers Sh8 billion annually.
The new pay that runs between September and 2022, shows the President’s monthly pay was cut to Sh1,444,750, down from Sh1,650,000. The Deputy President will get Sh1,227,188, down from Sh1,402,500.
The Treasury has also implemented an austerity plan to free up cash for development and essential services such as security, health and education.
The government has been grappling with missed tax collection and borrowing targets, triggering a cash crunch that has in recent years forced the Treasury to review its budget.
Kenya has been running a large public wage bill that stood at Sh568 billion in the 12 months to June 2015 or 52 per cent of total revenues, squeezing development spending.
At 52 per cent, Kenya’s public wage bill is 17 percentage points above the global average of 35 per cent for middle-income countries, which has been a concern for the Jubilee government.