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CRA paid staff salaries beyond set limits — auditor

Gathungu says commission broke the laws in spending Sh190 million out of the Sh346 million to pay employees

In Summary

•The Jane Kiringai-led CRA has also been flagged over the irregular direct promotion of 14 staff members after a change in salary structure.

•Human Resource records revealed the commission accorded the promotions without the due approval by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

Commission on Revenue Allocation chairperson Jane Kiringai during a press conference in Nairobi, November 2.
PAY UP: Commission on Revenue Allocation chairperson Jane Kiringai during a press conference in Nairobi, November 2.
Image: WILFRED NYANGARESI

The Commission on Revenue Allocation is on the spot for paying staff salaries beyond the limits set in the law governing public finance.

An audit has flagged non-compliance after it emerged its wage bill was 55 per cent of the total budgetary provision for the year ending June 2021.

In a report tabled in Parliament Auditor General, Nancy Gathungu said the commission broke the law in spending Sh190 million out of the Sh346 million to pay employees.

“In the circumstances, management is therefore in breach of the law,” Gathungu said.

“This is contrary to the Public Finance Management (National Government) Regulations, 2015 which requires that compensation of employees should not exceed 35 per cent of revenue,” the report reads.

The Jane Kiringai-led CRA has also been flagged over the irregular direct promotion of 14 staff members after a change in salary structure.

Human Resource records revealed the commission accorded the promotions without the due approval by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

Gathungu said the commission was in breach of the Constitutional provision that empowers SRC to advise national and county governments on the remuneration and benefits of all public officers.

Management, however, said it sought the approval of the National Treasury on the structural reorganisation of the budget – which was granted.

The Treasury advised the changes in the salary structure should be approved by the SRC, which the CRA sought.

However, the revenue allocation commission went ahead to implement the unapproved structure before getting the commission’s feedback.

“It went ahead and implemented the unapproved structure before receiving the advisory saying SRC was to provide advisory services and they are at liberty to accept or reject the advisory.”

Gathungu said by the audit in November last year, the SRC advisory opinion had not been provided for audit review.

“In the circumstances, the management was in breach of the law,” she said in her latest opinion on the CRA’s account books.

Another breach of the law has been cited in the commission’s move to issue salary advance to two commissioners to the tune of Sh1.2 million.

At the time of the audit, the Sh2.55 million advance salaries were yet to be paid hence the ensuing query.

Gathungu said her review of records revealed the commissioners had applied the provisions of the CRA Human Resource manual to irregularly access salary advances.

“This was despite the fact that their salaries are drawn from the Consolidated Fund as per Article 250 (7) of the Constitution of Kenya and have been servicing it through their allowances from the Commission’s budget,” the auditor said.

She said the management broke the law in the circumstances much as the commission is seeking to expunge the clause in the HR manual which necessitated the irregular payments.

“The commission said it was committed to expunging the clause which earlier allowed commission (to draw an advance salary) and engage the Treasury to consider facilitating requests from commissioners,” the auditor said.

The CRA case is the latest of the run-ins between SRC and public bodies on matters of review of salaries and allowances.

Trade unions recently protested a suggestion by the commission that they seek prior approval of Comprehensive Bargaining Agreements before the same is discussed with employers.

The unions said the commission’s role is purely advisory and thus cannot compel public agencies to take up the advice.

Kenya Union of Clinical Officers secretary general Peterson Wachira recently told the Star they would seek to amend the law to restrict SRC to their mandate.

“We want the law change for employers not to be compelled to take the advice-only be compelled to seek the same,” he said.

Edited by Kiilu Damaris

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