NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 30 – The Law Society of Kenya has opposed plans by the government to pay for Anglo-leasing contracts worth Sh1.4 billion to two companies, in questionable security agreements.
LSK Chairman Eric Mutua said they were concerned that the government lost cases filed in London and Switzerland and demanded that the Attorney General makes public the pleadings and awards by the International Centre of Settlement of Investments Disputes at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) Washington DC.
“We therefore demand that the Attorney General makes available to the public (through its website) the pleadings and award in the matter,” the LSK chairman told a news conference.
He claimed the pleadings were suspect despite the precedent set by the arbitration in World Duty Free Company where a tribunal held that a contract entered into through corrupt means cannot be enforced in an international or domestic court.
The lawyers’ body vowed to sue the government if it moves to pay Universal Satspace Company and First Mercantile Securities Corporation the Sh1.4bn.
“If this payment is made, then the Law Society of Kenya shall take out private prosecution against all the persons who contractually committed the country to such payments. It is these kinds of financial scams that continue to hurt the country’s economy.”
LSK also says it intends to move to court to stop the implementation of the controversial Standard Gauge Railway.
“To forestall a repeat exercise, the Law Society of Kenya and its advocates are now studying the Standard Gauge Railway contractual documents which on the face of it are illegal. We are likely to file a suit to stop the implementation of the contract and to nullify it.”
The government has until next Monday to pay Sh924 million owed to a Swiss company involved in the Anglo Leasing scandal, failing to which its properties abroad will be attached and auctioned.
This comes as the National Assembly is expected on Wednesday to debate and vote on recommendation by two House Committees which have endorsed the payment of Sh1.4 billion Anglo Leasing judgment debts.
The move by the Budget and Appropriations and the Finance, Trade and Planning committees was decided by voting in a closed door session after members failed to reach a consensus.
MPs had demanded the concurrence of the Cabinet and a written opinion from the Attorney General explaining that all the appeals mechanism had been exhausted and that the government had no otherwise but to pay.