Judge tells Nakuru County to sue lawyer over Sh17m 'fraud'

Tuesday June 18 2019

Court order

The Nakuru judge has on June 18, 2019 directed Lee Kinyanjui administration to take legal action against a lawyer who allegedly forged a county attorney signature to avoid paying client Sh17 million issued by the court.  

JOSEPH OPENDA
By JOSEPH OPENDA
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The High Court has directed Lee Kinyanjui administration to take legal action against a lawyer who allegedly forged the signature of a Nakuru County attorney in a bid to defraud his client Sh17 million.

Nakuru High Court judge Joel Ngugi on Tuesday ordered the county to report the alleged forgery by lawyer Harry Gakinya to the police.

The signature is said to have been used to obtain court orders stopping the payment of Sh39.8 million issued by the court to the lawyer’s former clients, Sabatia Investment.

By the time of filing the case, the lawyer had only released Sh22 million to his client yet the county government had paid Sh39 million.

“The county government should pursue the case by making a formal complaint with the county attorney. The county legal officer should also make a report to the police of a suspected forgery where his signature was used to file this matter,” ordered justice Ngugi.

CONSENT ORDER

The judge made the ruling in an application in which the firm had filed contesting the orders obtained by the lawyer using the fraudulent consent order.

The firm, through its new lawyer Gordon Ogolla, told the court that the county government colluded with the lawyer to avoid paying the remaining Sh17 million balance.

But the county denied having entered into a consent with Mr Gakinya or instructing him to file a case against the judgment.

Mr George Kamau, whose signature was allegedly forged, appeared before court and denied having signed the document.

“That is not my signature. As far as the county government is concerned the file was closed after we paid the decretal sum of Sh39 million as ordered by the court and had no business filing any other application thereafter,” said Mr Kamau

According to the documents, the court had through a consent order directed the county government to pay Sh39, 872598 to Sabatia Investment as rent arrears after it failed to pay for the premises it had leased.

FULL PAYMENT

The county government told the court that it had already released the Sh39 million in February 2019 through Mr Gakinya’s account.

But the court heard that Sabatia Investment only received 22 million from the lawyer.

The company dropped the lawyer after he failed to pay the remaining amount before filing the case against him.

After learning of the case, the lawyer is said to have filed a case in court purporting to be acting for the company and duped the court to believe that the company had entered into a consent to set aside the orders in the judgment pending hearing and determination of a review application.

INCIDENT CONDEMNED

Justice Ngugi in his ruling expressed shock that such an incident could occur in the legal profession.

Another lawyer John Githui, who was holding brief for Mr Gakinya, also condemned the incident which he termed as unfortunate.

“What my colleague deed is beneath the expectation of the legal profession and I want to discourage it,” said Mr Githui.

The court expunged the application on grounds of being incompetent and faulty.