Law firm allowed to represent China Wu Yi in land deal case


The Court of Appeal has suspended a decision to punish NEA director-general Edith Okoki. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

The High Court has declined to block a Mombasa law firm from representing China Wu Yi (Kenya) Company Ltd in a case where the Chinese construction firm is seeking a refund of Sh20 million in a botched land deal.

Justice Olga Sewe rejected the application by Stephens Kithi Ngombo of Steve Kithi & Co Advocates, seeking to bar Wambugu & Muriuki Advocates from representing the Chinese firm over an alleged conflict of interest.

The court was informed that the law firm wrote a letter of complaint to the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on June 26, 2020, which gave rise to a case pending before a Mombasa court.

The court further heard that partners and the advocates in the firm of Wambugu & Muriuki Advocates are likely to be called as witnesses in the criminal case and, therefore, there exists a conflict of interest.

The judge, however, noted that the law firm merely conveyed the decision of the board of directors of its client — the Chinese construction firm, to the DCI.

“There being nothing to show that the advocate concerned is a witness either in the criminal case or this suit, I am far from convinced that conflict of interest has been demonstrated herein,” the judge said.

In the main case, the Chinese construction firm is seeking a refund of Sh20 million over a land agreement that never went through. Also named in the case is Propken (Mauritius) Limited.

The court was informed that the letter to the DCI sought investigations into allegations of fraud.

Mr Zhang Hua, an administrator at China Wu Yi (Kenya) said the report to the DCI was not made by the law firm’s own motion but followed instructions by its board of directors.

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