Solicitor-General Ken Ogeto has told the parliament that Office of the Attorney General owes Kenyans Sh809 billion in unpaid court awards.
Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki’s office faces a serious cash crunch which has seen it unable to pay claimants, among them former political detainees the awards running close to Sh 1 billion, as at May last year.
Attorney General (AG) Kihara Kariuki responded to Maraga over the swearing in of the 41 judges in a manner upholding blatant disregard of the rule of law.
Let me tell you about AG Kariuki, and why he will forever be Uhuru’s puppet.
— Lagaless ?? (@lagaless) June 10, 2020
Ogeto told MPs that the office of the Attorney-General and Department of Administrative Justice had, at the end of May 2019, analysed ongoing cases and arbitrations with quantifiable claims as having a potential liability exposure to the Government of Sh809,938,412,173.
“We have to admit that some of these cases would have been successfully defended and bills minimised if we had facilitation. Our assurance must be that with these additional resources, we must endeavour to do all we can to ensure that the performance of our constitutional and statutory duties to the government and the public run with clockwork precision,” said Ogeto.
The family of multi-party hero Kenneth Matiba is one of many which are still waiting for compensation that has risen to over Sh1 billion.
The one-time opposition leader who has since died was awarded Sh945 million for his unlawful detention in the early 1990s and collapsed business empire as well as interest dating from the suit was filed in 2014.
The amount has been accruing monthly penalties on delayed pay even as the government fights off additional claim of Sh135 million from the lawyers of the deceased for legal fees related to the multi-billion shilling suit.
Also owed money by the State is Charles Wanyoike Rubia, who was awarded Sh26 million for the suffering he endured at the hands of the Kanu regime under the late President Moi for his role in the struggle.
Rubia, who died aged 95 on December 23 last year, was seeking Sh40 billion compensation from the government for the suffering he underwent and business losses.
But Justice Weldon Korir awarded him Sh26 million, saying the amount he had sought was not backed by any local decision or decree.
Yesterday, Ogeto said the financial constraints had hampered its ability to discharge its mandate as the government’s chief legal advisor.
“As the government’s principal lawyer, we are tasked with a great burden, one that needs considerable resources to undertake. With as high as 3,000 cases filed against the government every year,” Ogeto said.
According to Ogeto, lack of funding had seen it lose many cases filed against the state in various courts across the country.