alexa IEBC spent Sh202m on legal fees in 2017 - Daily Nation

IEBC spent Sh202m on legal fees in 2017

Monday March 16 2020

Wafula Chebukati

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. The commission has picked eight lawyers to represent it in the petitions challenging results of the repeat presidential election. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DAVID MWERE
By DAVID MWERE
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The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) incurred Sh202 million in legal fees in 2017.

In its latest report tabled at the National Assembly last week, the amount is part of the commission’s Sh361.7 million in accrued expenditure for the 2018/19 financial year.

The Sh202 million was paid to law firms that represented the commission in disputes — from nominations to the outcome of the August 8, 2017 General Election.

The National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale notes in the report that the petitions started from the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT) to the appeal courts.

PRESIDENTIAL PETITION

The election of Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua, Mohamed Abdi (Wajir) and Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay) are some of the disputes that were determined by the Supreme Court.

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Former Gichugu MP Martha Karua also unsuccessfully challenged the election of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru at the apex court.

Kimani and Company advocates, which handled 14 petitions, pocketed Sh29.7 million.

A.B. Patel and Company Advocates took home Sh5.5 million in the Supreme Court case involving Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, while Abdulahi Gitari and Odhiambo Advocates pocketed Sh4.1 million in former MP Zebedeo Opore’s matter.

The National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi directed that the House Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs considers the IEBC report. It’s chaired by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo.

GOOD LAWYERS

“I direct that the report be committed to the Justice committee so that it tables a report in this House for adoption,” Mr Muturi said.

This is not the first time the commission is incurring huge legal bills.

In 2018, then-IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba told MPs that they paid lawyer Ahmednassir Abdullahi Sh40 million for his services in the 2013 presidential election petition, filed by ODM leader Raila Odinga against the Jubilee coalition’s Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mr Abdullahi represented then-IEBC boss Issack Hassan while Aurelio Rebello was paid Sh30 million for acting for the commission.

However, the IEBC could not offer a proper explanation to the committee on why Mr Abdullahi was paid more money than Mr Rebello and the other firms.

Mr Chiloba’s response to the committee was that in 2018, there was a “shortage of good lawyers” in Nairobi.
“Mr Abdullahi was the lead lawyer for the returning officer for the presidential election. The Sh40 million was negotiated. In fact, he had asked for much more money,” said Mr Chiloba.