By the end of 2019, legal awards against the State for court disputes ranging from lawyers’ fees, contract breaches, unlawful dismissals amounted to Ksh101.2 billion. According to former Attorney-General Paul Kihara, the government paid Ksh1.8 billion between 2017-2020 as legal fees and compensation to victims of human rights violation by State officials.
In this article, WoK takes a look at some of the biggest court awards issued by the Kenyan Judiciary.
Nairobi County Government vs the Ministry of Defense
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One of the biggest court awards is the land dispute case between the Nairobi county government and the Ministry of Defense. According to court records, the KDF forcibly obtained the parcel of land where the Embakasi Barracks sits, triggering a lawsuit in April 2012. The then Nairobi county governor appointed Donald Kipkorir of KTK Advocates to lead the case in the 3,000 acre piece of land valued at Ksh 61.5 billion.
However, the case was withdrawn in June 2021 without the involvement of Mr. Kipkorir. The renowned lawyer moved to court seeking compensation for leading the case that was in court for almost a decade. In July 2022, the Environment and Land Court ruled that the lawyer was to awarded Ksh 1.338 billion in legal fees.
The former Kiharu constituency MP died in 2018 aged 85. He suffered a stroke while in detention on 26th May 1991, but he remained in the same condition without medical care for a week. His lawyer John Mburu moved to court arguing that Matiba lost investments worth Ksh 5 billion during incarceration.
An audit of his vast estate revealed that the MP lost more than Ksh 2 billion in commercial real estate and a further ksh 2 billion in privately held shares. Justice Isaac Lenaola who was then a high court judge awarded Matiba Ksh 978 million for special and general damages. The amount rose to over Ksh 1.5 billion because of interest, as the government delayed in releasing the payout.
Meru County vs Hotelier
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On June 2022, a Meru High Court ordered the county government to pay an hotelier almost half a billion for wrongfully evicting him from his hotel situated in Meru National Park. Justice Thripsisa Cherere ordered Meru Finance Chief Officer Kabii Chabari and Finance Executive Titus Ntuchiu to pay Mr Michael Dechauffour, founder of Leopard Rock Mico Limited that owns Leopard Rock Lodge, Ksh 445,022,388.28.
The amount accumulated Ksh 2.2 million interest per month adding up to over Ksh 500 million. The county government appealed the court case but lost and former Meru senator Mithika Linturi moved to court to stop the county from paying the money to the hotelier. The case was however withdrawn in October 2022 after Linturi was appointed the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture.
14 Riverside drive property
In 2010, Synergy Industrial Capital paid Ksh 750 million to acquire two blocks out of 14 from Cape Holdings, the developer of the 14 Riverside drive property where DusitD2 Hotel sits. The developer failed to hand over the blocks as agreed prompting the company to move to court.
In 2015, the arbitrator Mr Ochieng Oduol ordered the developer to refund Ksh1.66 billion in interest and the principal amount. The debt now stands at Ksh5 billion.
Richard Boro Ndung’u vs KPMG
In 2021, former KPMG CEO Richard Boro Ndung’u was awarded Ksh 379.03 million in compensation following his illegal sacking and removal as partner by the audit company. Ndung’u fell out with KPMG in 2016 after being in the company for 18 years and rising to become the first Kenyan senior partner, head of tax and Chief Executive Officer.
Court documents seen by Business Daily show that Mr. Ndung’u was involved in an inappropriate relationship with his personal assistant. He was then asked to surrender his laptop and mobile phone for investigations but along the way the company dropped the allegations and accused him of [email protected] harassment.
In October 2016, Mr Ndung’u wrote to Trevor Hoole, the CEO of KPMG Southern Africa lamenting about the treatment he was receiving from the local CEO. The CEO and two other partners met him in a club and asked him to resign in exchange for money. He rejected the proposal. In January 2017, KPMG East Africa voted to remove Mr. Ndung’u as a partner triggering the law suit.