The county assembly representatives from Nairobi are currently locked in a tussle with the executive following a request to pay Sh6.9 billion verified pending bills to law firms that provided legal services to the Nairobi county government between 2017 and last year.
The county’s committee on Justice and Legal affairs says 130 law companies handled City Hall cases in the Financial Years 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 and are demanding Sh6,971,837,929 from the county government.
The outrageous amount has sparked the debate with MCAs demanding for a probe to determine the authenticity of the claims saying some firms are dubious and payments therefore illegitimate.
Four out of the 130 firms were demanding to be paid Sh3.23 billion, almost half of the total amount.
The committee wants further scrutiny of Miller
and Company Advocates demanding Sh2.298 billion, Kandie Mudeizi and Mutai Company advocates seeking Sh530 million, KTK and Company advocates invoices of Sh413 million and
Nyamberi & Company advocates demand for Sh5oo million.
Other firms include Irungu Kang’ata and Co. Advocates, Osundwa and Co. Advocates, Kwanga Mboya and Co. Advocates, Kithi and Co. Advocates, Wanjiku Maina and Co. Advocates, E.Onyango and Co. Advocates, J.O Magolo and Co. Advocates, Ario Advocates, Maskam ( Asanyo), E.N Omoti and Co. Advocates and Ogeto Ottachi and Co. Advocates.
Others are Musyoka Mogaka and Co. Advocates, Masire Mogusu and Co. Advocates, Maanzo Co. Advocates, Miller Co. Advocates, Koceyo Co. Advocates, R.M Wafula Co. Advocates, Mbaluka Co. Advocates, Njenga Maina Co. Advocates, Kandie Murtai Co. Advocates, Sirma Co. Advocates, Arati Co. Advocates, C.M Mitema Co. Advocates, Munyasia Co. Advocates and Ongicho Ongicho Co. Advocates.
Legal payment from City Hall has been in the spotlight attracting investigation agencies.
On October 27, 2021, Clerk of the Senate wrote to Governor Anne Kananu requesting a statement over an alleged illegal payment of legal fees for
outsourced law firms by the Nairobi City County Government.
Currently, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating payments made by City Hall to 26 law firms.
The anti-graft agency asked Nairobi county secretary to furnish it with the specific case files handled by the 26 law firms between 2013 and last year.
These include details of the cases, letters of instructions and contract agreements.
The EACC asked to be furnished with all payment vouchers, cheque counterfoils and lists of pre-qualified law firms for 2013-2020.
The agency requested minutes approving the list of pre-qualified law firms and any other documents relevant to the investigations.
However, the investigation has not been concluded yet.
Responding to Senator Omanga’s statement on why law firms were paid Sh795.9 million out of Sh2.5 billion allocated for clearance of all pending bills in FY 2018-19, the committee said the lawyers deserved to be paid their arrears.
“Part of the payment made in the said financial year and the paid amount were amounts drawn from the Auditor General task force and the initiated Lumumba task force who had negotiated with the advocates concerned,” the report reads in part.
The committee said the Sh795.9 million were amounts drawn from the AG and Lumumba task force initiated by the governor.
Former Governor Mike Sonko in 2018 said heinherited Sh66 billion pending bills which he believed were fictitious.
This lead to the appointment of former EACC boss Patrick Lumumba in March 2018 to head a 10-member task force to audit the county’s pending bills and recommend those to be paid to the county treasury.
All suppliers and contractors were asked to submit their bills to the committee and it was found out that only Sh23 billion were legitimate.
Nairobi MCAs raised concerns over the payment of large amounts of money to some law firms yet the county has not won any court cases recently.
The ward representatives also made allegations of favouritism by City Hall in the clearance of lawyers’ bills instead of small scale suppliers owed less money.
City Hall paid legal fees to the tune of Sh795.9 million out of the Sh2.5 billion allocated for clearance of all pending bills, locking out other suppliers and contractors.
The legislators alleged that the outsourcing has turned into a business, with some lawyers colluding with officers in the executive, including those in the office of the county attorney, to siphon money from the county.
Still, on the payments, it was noted that the payment done by the county was guided by the Advocates Remuneration Order and all invoices were made.
This was after Senator Omang’a sought to know whether documentary evidence was availed by the law firms to support the payments made by Nairobi city county.
Currently, City Hall has been plunged into darkness for 10 days after Kenya Power cut electricity connection over a Sh1.55 billion bill.
City Hall annex, which has more than nine floors is in darkness, while both the Executive and assembly wing have been forced to use generators to ensure there is no interruption of services.