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Sh5b debt crippling Nairobi County’s operations

The Nairobi City County government is struggling with a Sh5 billion debt inherited from the defunct Nairobi City Council. The huge debt is owed to external legal firms that were hired by the by the now-defunct city council to represent it in court cases.

A statement sent to newsrooms on Friday afternoon by Nairobi City County’s Director of Public Communications, Beryl Awuor Okundi, said that county government inherited close to 3,000 cases with 90 per cent of them handled by outsourced law firms.

On Wednesday this week, some Nairobi County Assembly MCAs questioned the executive’s move to hire external law firms despite the existence of a legal department and asked the assembly’s Justice and legal affairs committee to investigate.

However, according to Nairobi City County’s Attorney, Gad Awuonda, it was a tradition for the former City Council to hire external law firms due to a shortage of lawyers in the county’s legal department.

“We have 12 lawyers in the County but only three go to court while the rest are specialized in dealing with contract and general advisory services,” the Attorney said.