Top city lawyer on the spot over suspect Sh87m payment
By Collins Omulo
A city lawyer is on the spotlight over questionable payments amounting to Sh87 million made to his law firm by City Hall.
This comes after a Nairobi County Assembly watchdog committee raised a red flag over the payment to the advocate made by the previous regime of former governor Dr Evans Kidero.
Lawyer Titus Koceyo, through his law firm Koceyo and Company advocates, was initially to be paid Sh350 million by the Nairobi City County for his services, but somehow agreed to have Sh87 million.
The amount was for representing Nairobi County government in a Sh2.5 billion Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line compensation case where residents who were to be who moved demanded for payment.
NO PROPER EVALUATION
The County Assembly Public Accounts Committee (PAC), while interrogating the payment on Monday, pointed out that no proper evaluation was done to arrive at the amount paid to the lawyer.
The committee also questioned how the law firm and the county were able to quickly revert from the amount earlier agreed to fast-track payment of the Sh87 million, which according to them contravened Section 148 of Public Finance Management (PFM) Act.
This comes after the Wilfred Odalo-led committee heard that the law firm, in conjunction with the then Deputy Director of legal department Erick Abwao, reached an agreement of the amount, whose payment was authorised for within a day.
“How did one Mr Abwao, a stranger in financial matters, in this case negotiate with this firm and authorise the expenditure?” posed MCA Odalo, alleging a conspiracy between the firm and City Hall.
But lawyer Lillian Maina, representing the law firm, denied the claims telling the committee that they acted within the agreed terms with the county government and that the payments were done within the law.
She told the committee that the law firm cannot be blamed for internal decisions made by the county regarding authorisation of payment, adding that the said payment process was done under the supervision of the then Finance executive Gregory Mwakanongo.
“I know payment was done but I cannot confirm when. I had not joined the firm when it happened,” said Ms Maina.
The committee chair Mr Odalo has summoned Mr Koceyo to personally appear before them together with Mr Mwakanongo and Mr Abwao.