Economy

Havi fights for control of LSK bank accounts

Nelson Havi

Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi addresses a press conference on October 7, 2020 at the LSK offices in Nairobi.

Summary

  • The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president Nelson Havi has moved to court seeking control of the organisation's financial operations following exit of two council members who were signatories of six bank accounts at Standard Chartered Bank.
  • In an application filed at the High Court under certificate of urgency, Mr Havi wants the number of signatories mandated to operate the bank accounts reduced from four to two.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president Nelson Havi has moved to court seeking control of the organisation's financial operations following exit of two council members who were signatories of six bank accounts at Standard Chartered Bank.

In an application filed at the High Court under certificate of urgency, Mr Havi wants the number of signatories mandated to operate the bank accounts reduced from four to two.

He fears that the operations of the lawyers' lobby may be brought to a halt should the court delay in granting him the orders sought.

The signatories of the accounts are LSK vice president Carolyne Kamende, Roseline Odede, Bernhard Ngetich and CEO Mercy Wambua with the operating mandate being any three to sign.

However, Ms Odede resigned and Mr Ngetich was suspended as a council member on January 18, 2021 during a special general meeting whose resolutions are subject to a court dispute. The development left only two signatories.

Mr Havi says there is need for the two remaining signatories (Kamende and Wambua) to be granted authority to operate the bank accounts and make transactions pending replacement of Ms Odede and Mr Ngetich as signatories.

In addition, he wants the court to direct Standard Chartered Bank to accept drawn and act upon instructions given by Ms Kamende and Ms Wambua for the payment of monies into and out of the accounts of LSK.

Mr Havi is also seeking an order an account of all financial transactions relating to the six accounts together with supporting documents verified by the accountant and internal auditor of LSK, be filed in court on a monthly basis.

Last week during hearing of one of the cases challenging the resolutions of the special general meeting, Mr Havi told the court that LSK had appointed two auditors to undertake a forensic audit of its financial books.

He told justice Weldon Korir that the audit is as a resolution passed in the disputed special general meeting, which was marked by chaos leading to court cases challenging the resolutions.

He said the auditors will give report on their findings during LSK's annual general meeting (AGM) scheduled for March.

However, lawyer Kamotho Njenga who is among LSK members challenging the manner in which the meeting was conducted, said the AGM cannot be called because the council is at home following its suspension.

“The kangaroo fashion in which Mr Havi presided over the impugned meeting severely exposes the whole legal profession to public mockery, ridicule and disdain. Once the public loses respect for lawyers, respect for the rule of law will correspondingly diminish raising the platform for anarchy,” said Mr Kamotho.

The ruling on the application will be on February 3, 2021.