Senior counsel Fred Ngatia was named among the top legal minds in Kenya by the International legal research company, Chambers Global in 2011. Falling in band two-alongside Waweru Gatonye, Karori Kamau, Kiragu Kimani, Mohamed Nyaoga, James Ochieng, Chacha Odera and Njoroge Regeru-the seasoned lawyer has distinguished himself as top class legal professional. His clientele base speaks volume of his abilities. For a man who rarely loses a case, Ngatia legal fee is way out of reach for the common mwananchi.
Mr Ngatia was former Internal Security Minister George Saitoti lawyer. He successfully represented the late Prof Saitoti in the much publicized Goldenberg scandal. Saitoti, who died in a chopper crash, was cleared of any wrongdoing.
A report appearing on the Daily Nation (28/8/2015) titled ‘Lawyers and outrageous legal fees charged on state corporates’, seemed to suggest Ngatia is in a group of lawyers who ‘run a cartel like outfit’ that locks out their colleagues from lucrative deals and share the proceeds from deals “with senior government officials in form of kickbacks”. The law firms are said to target State corporations, constitutional commissions and public offices beleaguered with cases and are willing to spend big money.
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How much does Fred Ngatia make per case? Here is what WoK has gathered.
Kenya Airports Authority Case
The lawyer demanded from the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) kes290 million-part of kes384 million-for defending the authority against billionaire businessman Kamlesh Pattni and his company World Duty Free. Defending the astronomical fees, Ngatia said the money was to be shared by the other lawyers KAA had hired for the case.
Presidential Petition (2013, 2017)
While Ngatia has appeared in other high profile cases, no case sparks interest among Kenyans like the presidential petition. He successfully defended President Uhuru Kenyatta disputed win in a petition filed by the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) in 2013. According to local news outlet, Uhuru lawyers pocketed kes300 million. Fred Ngatia being the senior lawyer obviously received a larger pie of the pay.
Presidential Petition 2017
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This was a blot in Ngatia’s illustrious career after the Supreme Court annulled Uhuru’s win. Chief Justice David Maraga declared the 8 August polls “invalid, null and void” and ordered for a fresh election within 60 days. The opposition coalition lawyers had done a pretty good job to outsmart Ngatia’s team. They redeemed themselves after successfully dismantling a petition by activist Njonjo Mue and Khelef Khalifa-and a separate one by former Kilome MP Harun Mwau-challenging Kenyatta’s re-election in the repeat poll. Going by precedent, Ngatia and his team made more than 300 million.
2022 presidential election petition
He is President-elect William Ruto lead counsel in the 2022 presidential election petition challenging his win in the August 9 election.
Property he reportedly owns
Upper Hill Chambers
He is arguably one of the wealthiest lawyers in Kenya, although he lacks the flamboyance and show off attributed to the likes of Ahmednasir Abdullahi. Blogger Robert Alai claimed in a tweet that the Upper Hill building is owned by lawyer Fred Ngatia. According to skyscrapercity.com, the building has 3 basements and 28 floors.