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City Hall on the spot over dubious outsourcing of lawyers

Nairobi Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) now want the county executive to establish a policy to streamline outsourcing of legal services by the county government.

This comes after the MCAs raised concerns over outsourcing of lawyers by the county’s legal department alleging it has been turned into a business where some lawyers collude with officers from the county executive, including those from the office of the county attorney.

As a result, the MCAs said, City Hall has lost many cases and resources due to lack of robust legal representation in cases involving the county government.

Through a motion by nominated MCA Silvia Museiya, the county legislators want the county to develop an elaborate policy to provide for outsourcing of legal services to handle complex or time-consuming projects and cases on a more affordable budget.

The MCA pointed out that the county assembly had passed several Acts which have not been published as required by the law due to a moribund legal department which due to lack of professionalism had failed to promote and guide the county resources in a manner to protect property of Nairobi residents.

“The county’s legal department which has got eight lawyers only and they keep on saying that they cannot be able to recruit more but they can afford to outsource more. This beats the logic,” said Ms Museiya.

Deputy Minority Whip Moses Ogeto said City Hall continued to lose cases despite billions being spent in legal fees, saying such a policy will ensure taxpayers’ money will be used accordingly by coming up with guidelines on how and on which ‘locus standi’ outsourced lawyers will be assigned cases.

“The policy will guide on how the cases will be allocated to various lawyers who will be in a position to represent the county during litigation and how they will be paid. For example, one lawyer was paid around Sh250 million for work not done,” said the Kilimani MCA.

Nominated MCA Mary Ariviza added that such a legal framework would go a long way in ensuring that the right things are done in the legal department as it will provide a framework on who can be involved from outside to offer legal service to the county.

“Without such a policy then everything will continue to be done in a zigzag manner without any proper framework,” she said.

Harambee Ward MCA Antony Kimemia said the policy will ensure that the office of the county attorney works effectively and efficiently as it is the backbone of the county.

“This will save taxpayers money because what we have seen is that this county has turned payment to lawyers into a business at the expense of contractors delaying development projects in the county as a result,” said Mr Kimemia.