Young lawyers in push to oust LSK CEO Wambua - Daily Nation

Young lawyers in push to oust LSK CEO Wambua

Sunday September 9 2018

Law Society of Kenya

Law Society of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mercy Wambua participates in a demonstration in Nairobi on February 15, 2018 against the disregarding of court orders by government officials. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By WALTER MENYA
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The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) heads to a special general meeting this week as concerns mount that plans by youthful lawyers to stage a coup against the chief executive could overshadow the agenda.

A second motion for the ouster of LSK president Allen Gichuhi and council member Roseline Odede has also been filed though it has not attracted as much interest as the one against the chief executive officer Mercy Wambua.

The sponsors of the motion against Ms Wambua are counting on the young lawyers who are the majority to push through their plans, which could disrupt and relegate the agenda of the meeting.

“We have called for a meeting on Monday when the council will deliberate on the motions among other things. We cannot pre-empt anything before the meeting,” Mr Gichuhi said when Sunday Nation reached out to him.

AGENDA

The special meeting to be held on September 15 has various agenda items, namely consideration of the draft Law Society of Kenya (General) Regulations 2018 for approval; consideration of the LSK International Arbitration Centre Legal Audit Report for adoption; and consideration of two motions received from the LSK Development and Investment Committee on re-development and construction of a modern office block at LSK headquarters on Gitanga Road Plot. There is also a motion to bring the international arbitration centre project to a closure.

The ouster motions were filed days after the SGM notice was sent out to members on August 15.

A lawyer who spoke to Sunday Nation however said that while the plan to oust Mr Gichuhi and Ms Odede does not look appealing to most members, the one against the Ms Wambua has found favour with many in the legal profession who feel she is not running the society to expected standards.

“I highly doubt if the motion against the president could succeed. If you address it objectively, the motion against the president is a question that should be decided by the courts because it is a constitutional question,” lawyer Georgiadis Majimbo said.

WAMBUA ACCUSATIONS

On the motion against Ms Wambua, Mr Majimbo said unless LSK council acts before the SGM, it is likely to succeed “because a majority of the young lawyers are behind it and they are often the majority in the meetings”.

Lawyer Edward Waswa, in a notice of motion dated August 23, wants the SGM to impeach Ms Wambua for abuse of office, favouritism, financial misconduct, incompetence and gross negligence.

With annexures to support the allegations, Mr Waswa, for instance, accuses Ms Wambua of ignoring advice by paying Sh5.8 million instead of Sh441,796 in the renewal of staff medical scheme.

“On June 26, an invoice to the society of Sh441,796.38 by Jubilee Insurance Company was received.

"Undermining the accountable and efficient manner in which funds of the society must be utilised, and contrary to the expectation of the membership, the CEO approved and facilitated the transfer of Sh5.8 million as the renewal of staff medical cover for the period July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019,” the document reads.

ALLOWANCES WITHHELD

Ms Wambua is also accused of approving the procurement of 46 fire extinguishers for the LSK Gitanga Road headquarters, which has only 31 employees. The fire extinguishers were bought at Sh978,655.

The CEO is also accused of often ignoring branch officials and withholding allowances of staff members during this year’s LSK annual conference.

“In her tenure, the society has been the subject of public ridicule, as fundamental errors of judgement and antagonistic tendencies have obliterated its prime state,” the motion reads.

LSK staff and finance committee, which is chaired by Ms Odede, met on Wednesday, with the allegations against the CEO said to have been on the agenda.

Other members of the committee are Maria Mbeneka, Herine Akoth, Boniface Akusala and David Njoroge.

PANEL

Sources at the daylong meeting told the Sunday Nation that the committee resolved to recommend that the council constitutes a three-person panel to investigate the allegations against Ms Wambua.

The committee will present their recommendations to the full council during the Monday meeting.

The council could either adopt them or give its own view. A source at the meeting however expressed disappointment with the committee for trying to protect the CEO.