The Teachers Service Commission has shifted the blame to the National Treasury over nonpayment of some 23,487 teachers who retired between 1998 and 2003.
TSC CEO Nancy Macharia said the commission has completed all the paper work and submitted to the Treasury for payment.
“On its part, the commission has processed all the relevant documents for the 23,487 and submitted to the National Treasury for payment as per the law,” Macharia said.
The TSC boss appeared before the Senate’s Education Committee to explain the inordinate delays to pay the retired teachers.
This followed a petition by a former teacher who claimed that the TSC was yet to pay the retirees, about 20 years since they retired.
Affected retirees were teachers who did not benefit from enhanced pay following a deal between Kenya National Union of Teachers and the employer in 1997.
The deal was to be implemented in phases but the lot retired before they could benefit from one of the phases due to cash crises that had hit the government at the time.
“I want to correct a misconception here, that it is TSC that pays pension. That is not the case. The work of the commission is to prepare documentation and forward to the director of pension. Our work ends at documentation,” the TSC boss said.
Macharia told the panel chaired by Murangá Senator Joe Nyutu that the affected retirees are benefitting from normal pension but the Treasury is yet to pay them the enhanced pay that they were entitled to at the time they were in service.
“The committee should note that the 1997 salary agreement was re-negotiated between Knut and a new agreement signed as legislative supplement No 10 of 2003,” she said.
The government has been compelled to effect the payment after the teachers moved to court and secured a favourable judgment for enhanced pension benefits.
The teachers won the cases from the High Court all the way to Supreme Court in 2015.
“Upon exhausting all legal avenues, the government committed to fully comply with the judgment and commence processing the pension claims for the teachers who are entitled to the same,” Macharia said.
The committee, which resolved to summon Treasury CS Njunguna Ndungú to explain the nonpayment, put the TSC boss on the spot questioning why there has been delays by some retirees to get the normal pension.
“I have been coming to TSC to a point that some people think that I was working for TSC. Why do you delay to pay gratuity and pension for retirees?” Taita Taveta Senator Johannes Mwaruma posed.
The CEO explained several factors contribute to delayed payments.
She cited the delays to secure proper documentation from the retirees for processing of the payments by the Treasury.
“In some cases, especially where the retirees have passed on, families engage in wrangles who should receive the payment,” she said.
Macharia, through the commission’s Human Resource Management and Development director Julius Olayo, said the commission gives one notice to retirees to prepare the documentation for payments.
“In the notice we give an array of requirements including bank details so that they can submitted.
However, some retirees and beneficiaries take long to submit the documents for processing to unlock the payments.