• MP David Pkosing said the money is enough to employ more workers in the authority.
• This comes two months after the authority gave its more than 7,000 employees bonuses amounting to Sh700 million.
Overtime allowances for Kenya Ports Authority employees could be scrapped, if MPs make good their threats.
The National Assembly Public Investment Committee on Commercial Affairs and Energy on Thursday discovered the employees were paid Sh300 million in 2020 in overtime allowances.
Committee chairman and Pokot South MP David Pkosing said the money is enough to employ more workers in the authority.
“There are many Kenyans who are unemployed. If KPA has that much money to give to people who already earn a salary, why can’t the overtime be scrapped and instead that extra work be done by more people who do not have a salary?” he asked.
This was during the grilling of KPA officials, led by managing director Captain William Ruto, at Whitesands Hotel in Mombasa.
This came barely two months after the authority gave its more than 7,000 employees bonuses amounting to Sh700 million for exemplary performance for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Prior to that, dockers last received bonuses in the 2019-20 fiscal year, despite posting good performances over the years.
On Thursday, the MPs also discovered that between 2019-20 and 2020-21, KPA employed five managerial staff and within a year, their salaries had been increased by more than 30 per cent, an abnormal increment.
“The question is, who gave the MD authority to increase people salaries without even asking the question of time?" Pkosing posed.
“I was employed one time myself. I was in public service. I have not seen anywhere where you are employed this week, with basic salary of a certain amount and then within a month you can ask for the review of your salary.”
He said the law only allows MDs to vary salaries only for a certain level of management, which is also subject to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission's approval.
It also emerged that KPA paid 239 staff on training grade allowances amounting to Sh29 million.
He said the KPA regulations, staff on training grade are not supposed to earn any allowances.
However, Captain Ruto said all the payments made were done in accordance with KPA statutes.
In a bid to save the overtime allowances for the workers, Captain Ruto said most of the issues raised in the audit queries had been clarified and everything was done aboveboard and with rationale.
“Members only requested for further information to confirm those issues that had been closed. We were able to submit some of them, but others were late because any report to the parliamentary committee has to be submitted two days prior to the meeting,” he said.
On the five managerial staff members whose salaries were increased, Captain Ruto said the KPA Act allows the MD to vary the salaries of staff, with approval from the board.
He said the human resource manual also outlines how the MD can vary salaries of employees.
“The MD cannot be approving everything right from junior cadre of staff all the way to the top. There are certain levels that supervisors and managers are allowed to approve and others that only the MD can approve,” he said.
“In the papers that we submitted, we submitted the approvals but the MPs needed more time to peruse the documents. Due process was followed. There is nothing that was done contrary to the law,” he said.
On the 239 staff who were paid overtime allowances, he said it happened during the Covid-19 period when most workers worked from home.
Some of the workers had permission to work out of station and permission had been granted.
“For those who had no permission, we were also able to demonstrate that their salaries were deducted,” Ruto said.