A whiff of scandal is brewing at the Nairobi County government over an alleged planned payment of Sh2billion to a controversially selected 15 law firms as pending bills.
In a suit filed by lawyer Clinton Mwale against the Nairobi County government as first respondent, Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja as second respondent and Law Society of Kenya as an interested party, today, High Court judge justice L. N. Mugambi has issued directing all the defendants be served in seven days.
“I have read the application dated June 20, 2023 together with the certificate of urgency and do hereby direct that: I decline all the exparte orders sought, the application be served within seven days.” The order reads in part.
Mwale filed the suit under the certificate of urgency through Mwale and Beitta Advocates.
The planned controversial payment, according to court documents is set to be made before the end of this financial year which is just eight days shy before it lapses.
According to documents filed in court, Sakaja’s administration owes various law firms more than Sh21billion as pending bills as of January 2023.
While questioning the modality used to identify the law firms to be paid, the petitioner says that he has since learnt that the National Treasury is in the process of disbursing money to offset pending bills to Nairobi county and that a plot has been hatched to selectively pay a few law firms.
Mwale claims the law firms were handpicked through discrimination considering other firms numbering to 300 have equally provided legal services to the county.
“The applicant has since learnt that the National Treasury is in the process of disbursing some funds to the 1st respondent (Nairobi County government) for purposes of sorting pending bils and the applicant has further learnt that the 1st respondent has approved to pay around Kenya Shillings Two billion to less than 15 law firms.” The documents filed in court says.
According to documents filed in court, the profiled law firms cited and profiled as among thos set to be paid include; Makallah Theuri & Company Advocates (Sh60million), L.N Nyaribo & Company (Sh50million), Okatch & Partners (70million), Okubasu Munene & Kazungu Advocates (Sh30million), Gikunda Miriti & Company (Sh67million) and Masire & Mogusu (Sh27.5million).
Others are; Anne Munene & Company (Sh34million), Koceyo & Company Advocates (Sh43.8million), Roba & Associates (51.8million), Ummi Bashir & Company Advocates (Sh32million), J.W Wachira Advocates (Sh58million), Momanyi and Associates (Sh91million), Jamal Bake & Associates (Sh47million) and Bespoke Insurance Brokers Limited (Sh28million).
Additionally, Osoro Onyiego and Manyara Advocates (Sh30million), Swanya and Company Advocates (Sh2.2million), Arati and Company (2.15million), KO Advocates (Sh20million), Moronge Advocates (Sh10million) and Ojienda Co. Advocates (Sh5million).
In March last year, the Nairobi County Assembly initiated probe into the controversial Sh595million legal fees paid to several law firms at City Hall.
The inquiry by the Nairobi County Assembly Public Accounts Committee follows an audit query by the Auditor General into the county executive’s legal fees expenditure.
According to the audit report, the county government made large payments as legal fees to various firms that offered legal services to the county.
However, the report said, the county executive did not provide documents such as nature of disputes, approvals for procurement of professional services records, records of services rendered and contract agreements for audit review.
The law firms included Munikah and Co Advocates, Ataka Kimori and Okoth Advocates, Abdullahi and Co Advocates, Musyoki Mogaka and Co Advocates, Koceyo and Co Advocates, Kwanga Mboya and Co Advocates, and Magoro and Co Advocates.
In concurrence with the Auditor General, the Assembly directed that no further legal fees payments should be until comprehensive audit is done.