Taxpayer to cough out Sh900b in court awards
The taxpayer risk losing Sh809.9 billion emanating from court awards, Solicitor General Ken Ogeto has warned.
Appearing before the Justice and Legal Affairs committee (JLAC) Ogeto said that as at May last year, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) after analysing ongoing cases and arbitration had concluded there is a potential liability to the government.
He said: “The OAG and DOJ had as at May 2019 analysed the ongoing cases and arbitration with quantifiable claims as having a potential exposure to the government of Sh809.9 billion”.
According to him under the legal services programmes, the office through civil litigation department had concluded 593 cases filed against the government against the 550 targeted for the first half.
The compensation consists of awards to victims of torture and for business litigants.
Among the cases that are yet to be concentrated include claims for the survivors of the Nyayo House torture.
The other major groups that have sued the government are victims of torture, violations of fundamental rights, unlawful dismissals by members of the Air Force following the 1982 abortive coup, political detainees, persons arrested and tortured on suspicion of being members of the February Eighteen Revolutionary Army in the late 1980s and civil servants retrenched during the Structural Adjustment Programmes period.
Consequently, Ogeto also revealed to JLAC members that the ongoing exercised on pending legal bills as at February 17 stands at Sh168 billion.
The pending bills said Ogeto include those by commission and state corporations.
The move comes at a time when National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has assured that the government is committed towards clearing pending bill.
Ogeto made the sentiments when he appeared before JLAC members to request for their assistance to have their budget enhanced.
According to him while the office of the attorney General requested for Sh8.2 billion for recurrent expenditure they were allocated Sh2.7 billion while in respect to Development budget they were given Sh118 million against a request of Sh2.6 billion
The cuts he said will affect the development of legal framework on management of conflict of interest that president Uhuru Kenyatta directed be formulated during the celebration of the 56th Jamhuri Day after Nairobi governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko who is facing a corruption case was represented by two senators yet they sit in the senate that oversighst counties.
The other areas that will be affected include conduction of alternative Dispute Resolution sessions across counties, decentralisation of registration of customary marriages to regional offices, roll out of Islamic marriages as well as sensitization of foreign marriage registries on compliance with the marriage act hosted in Kenyan missions.