A law firm associated with Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eugene Wamalwa is still representing the National Social Security Fund in a Sh7 billion court case even after he was appointed to the Cabinet.
NSSF officials on Tuesday told a parliamentary departmental committee on Labour that Wamalwa and Company Advocates was still representing the fund in the case against Mugoya Construction Company.
Mr Wamalwa, who was appointed to the Cabinet in April, also acted for the fund in another case in which Mugoya was paid Sh342 million for the construction of houses in Karen.
Mugoya company was expected to construct 4,774 housing units at Nyayo estate in Embakasi at a cost of Sh13.7 billion but the project stalled back in 1999 having only completed 1,256 units.
In addition, Mugoya was also expected to construct 265 up-market housing units, club house and other auxiliary buildings in Karen at a cost of Sh1.9 billion but the project did not kick off due to lack of approval of drawings and proposed developments plans by the Nairobi City Council.
NSSF Corporation Secretary Hope Mwashumbe, acting Managing Trustee Tom Odongo and Mr Mutemi Nzatu, who is in-charge of Property Management Development, said Wamalwa and Company Advocates and another law firm were hired without competitive bidding.
The officials said NSSF was paying millions of shillings to lawyers who were handling about 50 court cases facing it and thus risking members’ funds.
“NSSF has moved to clear some cases as they are risking members’ funds. When lawyers move to court they have been charging us based on subject matter,” Mr Odongo said.
He also disclosed that they had been paying lawyers for 18 years for a case that was recently concluded. “NSSF needs to settle old cases for safety of members’ funds rather than staying on court for 20 years,” he said.
Belgut MP Charles Keter cautioned that some lawyers could be wanting the cases to delay in court so that they can continue ripping millions of shillings from NSSF.
The NSSF officials urged the courts to speed up cases touching on the fund that are pending before them.
“We need to have the cases dealt with immediately. If it can be done in hurry, it is even better because it will stop exposing the savings of Kenyans,” Mr Odongo said.
Nominated MP Sophia Abdi took issue with the fund’s managers for failing to select lawyers competitively.
The NSSF officials were appearing before the committee over the construction of houses by Sololo Company owned by Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo and by Mugoya Construction Company.