Donald Kipkorir instructs auctioneers to seize City Hall assets over Sh1.69bn debt

City lawyer Donald Kiprorir has instructed auctioneers to seize assets belonging to the county government of Nairobi over a debt of Sh1.69 billion, which has been pending since 2022.

The move comes a few days after High Court judge Nixon Sifuna quashed sections 13A and 21 of the Government Proceedings Act, opening the door for litigants to attach government properties or bank accounts, to recover their debts.

While quashing the laws, Justice Prof Sifuna termed the sections colonial relic that has no place in modern society and was only meant to frustrate rather than facilitate the processing and expeditious disposal of cases.

“The legislation is an archaic colonial outfit that inadvertently escaped the post-2010 legal reforms that sought to align the laws with the Kenya Constitution 2010 and the new legal order it had established as well as the wind of change that it brought,” the judge said.

Yesterday, Mr Kipkorir instructed Garam Investment Auctioneers to seize valuables, office equipment, computers, furniture and even cars, to satisfy the debt.

“We urge that you have the warrants issued immediately and if possible, today (March 27) so that you execute tomorrow as Friday is a Public Holiday,” Mr Kipkorir said in the letter to the auctioneer.

The lawyer asked the auctioneer to make sure that there was enough manpower to proclaim as much property as possible.

Mr Kipkorir was awarded one of the highest legal fees in the country’s litigation history, for defending the Nairobi county government against the Ministry of Defence over a parcel of land where Embakasi Barracks sits.

The Environment and Land court had in 2022 ruled that Mr Kipkorir should be paid Sh1.338 billion for representing the defunct city council in a case that was in court for close to 10 years over a 3,000 acre parcel of land, valued at Sh61.5 billion.

The amount has since risen to Sh1.69 billion on account of interest.

“Note that executing against County Governments was pursuant to the Government Proceedings Act. However, last week in Nairobi HCCC No.E411 of 2023, the High Court voided Sections 13 and 21 of the Government Proceedings Act as unconstitutional and thus allowing execution against county government like in all ordinary executions,” Mr Kipkorir said.

Speaking separately, the lawyer said for long, the government at both levels had the upper hand against its creditors because it was immune from execution and attachment.

“By removing this legal anomaly, Justice Sifuna has created even playing level field between Government and those it enters into contract with. Government apparatchiks can’t blackmail or extort creditors anymore,” he said.

Mr Kipkorir acted for the defunct city council when its land was forcibly taken by the Kenya Defence Forces triggering the court case in 2012, but the matter was later withdrawn to allow for the case to be settled through inter-governmental relations.

The ownership of the land is yet to be settled as the Supreme Court ruled last year that although the DoD has been occupying the land since 1986, it remains the property of the County government, as the legal successor to the defunct Nairobi City Council.

The county government had unsuccessfully fought Mr Kipkorir’s legal fees stating his law firm- KTK Advocates had an agreement with city hall to be paid Sh400 million plus VAT.

The argument was dismissed by the Deputy Registrar who taxed the fees saying there was no proof that the amount had been agreed.

The court noted that the Advocates (Remuneration) Order provides the minimum amount and in calculating the amount, the court has the option of increasing the fees but not go below what has been stated as the minimum.

Previous rulings emphasize on the value of the subject matter, the instruction fees while taking into account the nature and importance of the case, the interest of the parties, the general conduct of the proceedings and direction of the trial court, among other circumstances.

Filings in court showed that Mr Kipkorir asked for instructions fees of Sh1.23 billion and getting up fees or costs incurred for the preparation of the case of Sh410 million.

Other issues considered were writing hundreds of letters and notices, to and from the Attorney General and other law firms, drawing affidavits, filing the court documents and getting hearing notices.

The lawyer also brought to the attention of the magistrate, court appearances for mentions and hearings all totalling to Sh1.6 billion and value added tax.

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