- Sakaja has inherited Sh99.06 billion from the administration of his predecessor Ann Kananu and the Nairobi Metropolitan Service.
He said the pending bills will be audited to reveal the legit ones.
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has questioned the county’s legal pending bills worth Sh21 billion.
Sakaja said the legal pending fees were an area of concern yet the county rarely wins court cases.
“My administration will look into the pending bills because Sh21 billion only from the legal department doesn’t add up. If you look at some cases they are very timid but have their quotation very high,” he said on Monday.
Sakaja inherited Sh99.06 billion from the administration of his predecessor Ann Kananu and the Nairobi Metropolitan Service.
The latest data from the Controller of Budget shows that Nairobi’s pending bills jumped to Sh99.06 billion for the year ended June 2022, from Sh54.32 billion in the 2020-21 financial year.
This means that Nairobi incurred Sh40 billion in pending bills in 12 months.
Sakaja said the pending bills will be audited to reveal the legit ones.
“All pending bills will be reviewed case by case before any payment is done,” he said.
Legal payment from City Hall has been in the spotlight attracting investigation agencies.
In January 2021, the Ethics Anti-Corruption Commission commenced investigations on the payment of legal fees to 26 law firms by City Hall.
In a letter dated January 21, 2021, EACC asked the county secretary to furnish it with the specific case files handled by the 26 law firms between 2013 and 2020, including details of the cases, letters of instructions and contract agreements.
“The commission is undertaking investigations at the Nairobi City County in respect of payments of legal fees to the following firms,” reads the letter.
The firms included Irungu Kang'ata and Co Advocates, Osundwa and Co Advocates, Kwanga Mboya and Co Advocates, Kithi and Co Advocates, Wanjiku Maina and Co Advocates, E Onyango and Co Advocates, JO Magolo and Co Advocates among other firms.
The county assembly has over time lamented and raised concerns over money paid to legal firms.
In the 2016-17 financial year report, then Auditor General Edward Ouko was concerned by the money that the legal department spent, citing Sh592.4 million in unauthorised payments.
In the period under review, the department’s legal costs were Sh645.3 million against the approved budgetary allocation of Sh105 million.
According to the report, the department paid 12 law firms Sh314.4 million.
The money was spent outside the Integrated Financial Management Information System.
In February 2019, the County Assembly Public Accounts Committee found that the legal department spent Sh480 million, more than four times the Sh100 million budgeted for.
The payments were made without documentary evidence.
In particular, Sh318.4 million was paid to different lawyers without supporting documents.
MCAs have in the past flagged the legal department for colluding with law firms to siphon money from City Hall, noting in the financial year 2018-19 when no case was handled by county lawyers.
Instead, 48 law firms were paid Sh795.9 million. Only eight of the firms presented fee notes.
Documents before the County Assembly Legal and Justice Committee showed that 335 cases were handled by the legal department, with only 12 of them successful in the same period.
The rest were either withdrawn or lost.
The committee questioned why Sh795.9 million was paid only to law firms yet the county's allocation for the clearance of the pending bills in 2018-2019 was Sh2.5 billion.