Nairobi County Attorney gets sack over pending legal bills

Tuesday, August 15th, 2023 00:30 | By
Nairobi County Attorney Lydia Kwamboka
Nairobi County Attorney Lydia Kwamboka. PHOTO/Print

Wrangles surrounding the payment of legal fees amounting to billions of shillings in Nairobi have taken a new twist after the County Attorney Lydia Kwamboka was sacked under unclear circumstances.

Kwamboka (pictured) says she received her sacking letter on Monday last week after she appeared before the County Assembly Justice and Legal Committee where she expressed her frustrations from Finance Department officials.

She told the committee she had written an advisory to the finance department, that they should focus on paying law firms owed a small amounts of money amounting to Sh60 million.

Prioritised payment

She added that instead, firms owed huge amounts were prioritized with the county paying a total of Sh1.4 billion.

The legal department headed by the county attorney had prepared a list of firms’ owed small amounts.

“We go through the legal files as the legal department and once we are satisfied, we forward the file to the finance for payment. It is the legal department that has the mandate to decide which companies are to be paid, not finance,” Kwamboka told the MCAs.

Disappeared files

She also told the committee that a number of legal files had disappeared from the legal department’s civil registry. She said some of the vanished files ended up at the finance department and payment was effected without approval of the legal department.

She said she wrote a memo dated August 2, to the Chief Officer, Finance asking for clarification on payment criteria.

“We would like to understand the criteria used by your office in determining matters to be paid despite the sector having a budget to settle the small matters and what happened to the allocated budget,” reads part of the letter which she tabled before the committee.

The committee chair Jared Akama said the committee will this week summon top officials of the Finance Department to shed light on the payment of the pending bills.

But even before the committee concludes its hearings on the matter, Kwamboka last Monday received a letter terminating her services. In a letter dated August 7, acting County Secretary Patrick Analo said the county had appointed an acting county attorney and that Kwamboka should officially hand over.

“We are grateful for the service rendered to the county during the transitional period following the lapse of our employment contract dated October 1, 2019, on December 31, 2022. The office of the county attorney and legal sector has grown and continues to be a critical arm of the county executive,” the letter reads in part.

Analo indicated that Kwamboka’s contract expired in December 2022 and she had been assisting in the transitional period.

“Following the appointment of an acting county attorney, you are now requested to officially hand over,” Analo said.

He added that her terminal dues will be computed as provided in her employment contract.

The controversy on Kwamboka’s contract and when it was supposed to expire has deepened after it emerged that former Governor Ann Kananu had extended it for another six years effective July 13, 2020.

More on News