IEBC owes law firms Sh437m

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) owes Sh437 million to  various law firms for legal services emanating from 2013 and 2017 electoral petitions.

According to documents tabled before National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday, the lawyers commission paid Sh287 million to another group of lawyers contracted in the 2016/17 financial year.

 The Sh437 million is part of  the IEBC’s Sh 2.6 billion pending bill. “The list of legal pending bills is Sh437,037,758,” the documents seen by the People Daily read in part.

One of the owed law firms, Iseme Kamau and Maema Advocates, is demanding Sh164.4 million for services rendered in last year’s General Election.

Part of the cash—Sh118 million—was accrued after the firm represented the commission in an election case lodged by the National Super Alliance. The remaining Sh46 million stems from a case pitting IEBC against Rosecate Promotions & Supplies Limited after the latter challenged the awarding of a tender to supply ballot papers.

According to the documents,  the commission owes SM Kilonzo & Associates Sh40.8 million after representing it in a case in which activist Maina Kiai sued over results declaration.

Kioko Munyithia Ngugi and Co Advocates is demanding Sh 10 million from IEBC for a case between Juma Mwakesi and Ali Makwere, while AB Patel and Advocates are owed Sh5.5 million for services offered in a Supreme Court appeal filed by former Lamu Governor Issa Timamy. 

The details emerged even as it was revealed IEBC bought 1,000 SIM cards at Sh173 each instead of the market price of Sh50.

Appearing before the committee chaired by Opiyo Wandayi, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati and other top officials were at pains to explain the SIM cards expense. The MPs sought to know whether the cards, for handsets used to relay poll results, were special in any way.

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