JOYRIDERS! Atwoli launches scathing attack on Parliament’s Labour Committees
Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has accused a section of Parliament’s Labor and Social Welfare committees of wantonly squandering public funds during an international labour meet.
In a strongly worded circular to newsrooms dated 14 June, Atwoli claimed the leaders collected taxpayer money to attend the 106th Session of the International Labour Congress, ILC in Geneva, Switzerland, yet they failed to attend the sessions.
“COTU, with a delegation of over twenty delegates from the workers’ group led by myself and attending the ILC, can confirm that no single member of these houses from Labour and Social affairs Committees attended a single plenary session of the ongoing 106th Session of the ILC yet they collected the money and allowances in the pretext that they were coming to attend the conference and COTU (K) considers this to be outright robbery without violence of taxpayers’ money,” read the signed statement.
Atwoli went on to allege that, instead of attending the international conference, the legislators spent their time shopping.
The National Assembly committee, chaired by Matungu MP David Were and Vice Chairperson Women Representative Tiyah Galgalo of Isiolo, is composed of a whopping 29 MPs, while the Senate committee, Chaired by Kilifi Senator Steward Madzayo and Vice Chairperson Nominated Senator Martha Wangari, is made up of 9 senators.
It is believed that each of the committee members was given around Ksh3 million as facilitation for their time in Switzerland.
Atwoli argues that this was a double betrayal as Kenyans – many of whom are bearing the tax burden as they struggle to make ends meet – had to pay for duties that were not done.
“It is sad that while millions of Kenyans are suffering and workers toiling day and night to pay taxes to the Government amid their families surviving with hardly a meal a day, privileged Members of Parliament and Senate can in addition to the huge salaries they draw from tax payers actually proceed to lie bluntly to the Government to receive money for duties they are not even interested in attending, this is painful!” he wrote.
COTU now wants National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich to take action and deduct from salary whatever travelling allowances the members received.
“Henry Rotich should proceed to deduct whatever travelling allowances these members might have received from the government and proceed to hold them to account as per our constitution provision under Chapter VI,” Atwoli recommended.