The Nairobi county government will pay lawyer Tom Ojienda Sh264 million in legal fees arising from five cases in which he represented City Hall in 2014.
The amount is the total sum Prof Ojienda has been awarded from a series of court rulings in his favour. High Court judge George Odunga delivered judgements in five separate suits City Hall had filed contesting the sums of money Prof Ojienda had demanded for legal work he did for the county government.
Prof Ojienda had earlier obtained judgments from the High Court’s taxing master ordering City Hall to pay him Sh264 million, reaffirming the legal profession’s place among the best paying in Kenya.
Justice Odunga found that the payment orders could only be varied if City Hall appealed the taxing master’s decisions to award Prof Ojienda Sh264 million.
“In my view, the only way in which Nairobi County can avoid payment where there is a valid judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction is to show that the judgment has been set aside on appeal or on review or that an order of stay has been issued suspending execution of the said judgment,” Justice Odunga said.
“The order staying execution must, however, be made in the matter in which the judgment was issued. To that extent Nairobi County’s application, brought as it is in a matter other than one in which the decree was issued, is in my view incompetent.”
Prof Ojienda had initially demanded a cumulative Sh1.84 billion in fees for representing the county government in five suits, one of which was filed by the current governor, Mike Sonko.
City Hall had challenged the amounts before the High Court’s taxing master, who whittled down the amount to Sh264 million.
City Hall argued it was never made aware of proceedings regarding the lawyer’s fees. The county government said its in-house lawyer, who was furnished with copies of the court documents, did not advise it on the proceedings and outcome of the cases.