Ambassador Purity Muhindi’s Overstay at Embassy Cost Taxpayer Ksh 31.8 Million
Muhindi earned Ksh 1 million per Month in salary and allowances
Kenyans paid Sh265.1 million in rent and remuneration for 13 diplomats who have either refused to return home or are held up by bureaucracy after their tours of duty ended. The envoys in various foreign missions have stayed on for periods ranging between five and 32 months after the expiry of their tenures with one costing Kenyans Sh48 million.
The report, tabled by Parliament’s Defence and Foreign Relations Committee chairman Adan Keynan, shows the total amount spent on the envoy as at August 2012 — including for salaries and foreign service allowances, expenditure for overstayed period and rent — amounted to Sh265,068,127.
“As clearly seen in the list of ambassadors (as at August 2012), it is evident that the same ambassadors continue to overstay even after December 31, 2011. This amounts to breach of law and by extension is the height of impunity,” said the committee report.
The Defence and Foreign Relations Committee, which conducted inspection visits of the 52 Kenyan missions abroad in 2011, concluded that several envoys manning the missions were irregularly appointed, others continued to serve in their stations beyond their contract periods, while others refused to return.
“The amounts government is spending on their rents and remuneration leaves a lot to be desired — a possibility of illegal spending — by government,” said the committee.
The committee singled out Mishi Mwatsahu, who was stationed in Islamabad, Pakistan, as having overstayed for 32 months and drawn a total of Sh48.3 million. She earned a monthly salary and foreign service allowance of Sh851,515. Ephraim Waweru Ngare, stationed in London, and Mary Mbiro Khimulu, based in Unesco Paris, overstayed for 25 and 24 months respectively, drawing Sh41 million each.
They earned a monthly salary and foreign service allowance of Sh1 million each. Kenya’s envoy to Sweden Purity Wakiuru Muhindi and Richard Titus Ekai (Bangkok, Thailand ) overstayed for 19 months each, drawing Sh31.8 million and Sh29 million respectively.
Muhindi earned Sh1 million while Ekai pocketed Sh851,515 in monthly salary and allowance. Kenya’s envoy to Kuwait Mohamed Aden Mahat stayed longer by seven months, accumulating a total expenditure of Sh12.8 million. He earned a combined monthly wage of Sh1 million.
Four ambassadors, Festus Kaberia M’Mcheke (New Delhi, India), Catherine Muigai Mwangi (whose Dublin office in Ireland was abolished by Parliament), Prof Ruthie Chepkoech Rono (The Hague, Netherlands) and Thomas Boniface Amolo (Pretoria, South Africa) over stayed by six months each.
Prof M’Mcheke, who earns Sh815,515 in monthly perks, incurred a Sh8.8 million expenditure while Mr Amolo, who earns a similar salary and allowance, cost the taxpayer Sh10 million during the extra period.
Prof Rono and Ms Mwangi each earn Sh1 million and cost Sh10 million each in the overstayed periods.
The last of the 13 envoys, Robert Mutua Ngesu (Khartoum, Sudan ), Benjamin Adam Mweri (Bujumbura, Burundi) and Daniel Sindiga (Gaborone, Botswana) remained in office for five months each costing the country Sh7.5 million.
They earned a similar salary and foreign service allowance of Sh815, 51
The committee found out that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs lacks a clear policy on recalling and extending terms of service for diplomatic appointees and other officers in missions abroad.
The committee has since recommended that envoys who decline to return after recall be surcharged.
“Senior ministry officials should be held responsible and accountable for irregular appointments, unauthorised extensions of duration of postings and non-recall of diplomats at the expiry of the stipulated periods,” the committee said.
The MPs are proposing a Foreign Service law to govern appointments and recall in line with Articles 232 and 250 of the Constitution which lay emphasis on values and principles of public service and regional and ethnic diversity.
The taxpayer is also paying Sh142.4 million monthly to offset rent for 26 out of 52 Kenyan missions abroad.
Kenya’s mission in Japan, says the report, tops the list with a monthly rent of Sh120.8 million while Seoul in South Korea draws the least rent of Sh63, 200. The figures as at August 2012 were calculated using the exchange rate as at November 2012.
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“As indicated in its earlier report on the scrutiny of the budget estimates, it will be prudent in future, for government to purchase property for the missions abroad (either in cash or mortgage financing arrangements,” said the committee in its audit on the Foreign Service appointment.