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Counties barred from outsourcing legal jobs

Tuesday, June 11th, 2024 07:00 | By
Council of Governors chairperson Anne Waiguru. PHOTO/Kenna Claude
Council of Governors chairperson Anne Waiguru. PHOTO/Kenna Claude

County Governments will no longer have the luxury of contracting external law firms if a Senate proposal to amend existing laws is adopted.

The Senate is now mulling amending some pieces of legislation to bar county governments from hiring external law firms to represent them in cases that can be handled by County Attorneys.

This is after the Senate Committees (Devolution) and (Justice) established that counties have more than Sh56 billion pending bills owed to external law firms.

The Senate Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee has been hearing a petition regarding restricting County Governments from hiring external law firms.

Richard Onyonka (Kisii) wondered why all counties were hiring external attorneys yet they have county attorneys hired to represent counties in various criminal and civil cases.

“What is even worrying is that most of these cases have been set up to pilfer county funds, we must stop this by defending our counties from becoming the dens of corruption through this outright avenue of theft where billions of shillings that could have been put into better use are lost,” said Onyonka.

Of the Sh56 billion legal fees pending bills for the 47 counties, Nairobi County owes them Sh21billion.

The two committees had invited the Grassroot Civilian Oversight Initiative Executive Director Laban Omusundi who filed a petition seeking to bar counties from hiring law firms.

Omusundi argues the Senate should come up with a legal framework to protect the loss of billions of shillings going into this.

According to Onyonka, there is nothing wrong with an Advocate practicing law with the counties but they want a constitutional engagement that protects both parties.

Omusundi said that his petition was motivated by the Controller of Budget (COB) yearly reports on expenditures of County Governments where there are billions of taxpayers’ money paid to law firms.

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