An activist has written to the Nairobi County Government demanding an explanation on how a law firm linked to Borabu MP Ben Momanyi was paid Sh60 million for legal services.
Mr Okiya Omtatah’s letter to the county government is in relation to queries raised in the Auditor-General’s report for the financial year ending June 2015.
In the report, the Auditor-General states that a total of Sh134,107,113 was paid to various law firms by the county government, including Mr Momanyi’s, without any explanation on how the legal fees were arrived at.
Mr Omtatah specifically wants to know how Momanyi Associates and Ngala Associates received Sh60 million and Sh27 million respectively and whether the payments were approved by the relevant bodies.
“I would like to know if the county legal committee (or team) approved instructions to the two law firms. Kindly provide the minutes of the meeting at which the approvals were made,” he writes.
The letter is dated December 15, 2016 and was received at City Hall a day later.
In the year under review 1,149,676,732 had been set aside as legal fees. “Review of legal files revealed payments to lawyers for amounts (Sh134m) that were not supported by information and documentary evidence,” reads the report. Other entities which received money but the auditor-general is not satisfied with the answers given include the county government legal department, Koceyo and Company advocates and Musyoki Mogaka and Company advocates.
On Saturday, Mr Omtatah told the Nation that his letter to City Hall is part of a wider strategy to fight corruption.
“Law firms are used to loot State corporations. The law is clear that law firms should bid competitively and quote the amount they will charge when a case comes up. This is happening in many government corporations. I am going to sue law firms engaged in looting taxpayer’s money,” he said.
When contacted, Mr Momanyi said Mr Omtatah had no right to have details of his law firm’s dealings. “City Hall has not contacted me about that letter, but he (Mr Omtatah) must have seen an audit query by the Auditor General. He has no right to know which clients I represent or what they pay,” he said.
Documents sought include a list of all law firms that the county government prequalified to offer legal services since 2012. He also seeks to get documents showing all payments made so far to all firms that have represented the county for the past four years and the process through which they were procured.
Mr Omtatah says that in the event that the county government cannot justify the hefty payments, then it should detail measures that it has instituted to recover the money.
“This will enable me to appreciate whether the procurement for the said legal services was free from corruption and other forms of fraud; was done according to Kenya’s procurement laws; and complied with the principles and standards set in the Constitution for incurring public expenditure, and specifically for the procurement of goods and services by public entities,” he writes.