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MPs, government officials and the public will henceforth be surcharged if they cause the loss of taxpayers’ money. This is among a raft of austerity measures imposed by the Parliamentary Service Commission in a bid to stem wastage and misuse of public funds by the legislature.

The PSC has instructed the clerks of the Senate and the National Assembly to enforce a circular that, among others, demands that if an MP, government official or civilian is facilitated to travel (through purchase of air ticket and paid accommodation) and fails to show up be surcharged.

Read: Senators to pocket Sh1.4m each in Japan junket to watch volleyball

Although the rule has existed all along, it has not been enforced. MPs and other guests whose bills are paid by the PSC have abused it by accepting to attend events, especially outside Nairobi that require flying and hotel accommodation and failing to show up. Funds are lost through air tickets which once purchased cannot be reimbursed.

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Said one senior officer: “Yes, we are under strict instructions to adhere to the circular failure to which we will be held responsible. The circular has been there but now with austerity measures being put by all arms of government, we are strict now.”

In the supplementary budget passed last week, Treasury slashed Sh600 million from the PSC allocated to mostly local and foreign travel.

Before the reduction, the 67 senators had budgeted to spend Sh1.5 billion in foreign and domestic travel, up from Sh981.4 million in 2017-18.

The 349 members of the National Assembly had allocated Sh4.4 billion, up from Sh3.5 billion the previous financial year. Belgut MP Nelson Koech supported the move by Parliament, saying Kenyans are going through financial straits. “We cut the budgets so he monies can be re-allocated to deserving votes. Therefore, all of us in Judiciary, Executive and Legislature should be responsible with taxpayer’s money,” Koech told the Star.

More: Senators not travelling to Japan after all – Lusaka

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