Deputy President William Ruto now wants two lawyers perceived to be Raila Odinga’s allies kicked out of the Weston Hotel land case.
Ruto wants the court to bar lawyers James Orengo and Otiende Amollo from representing the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) in the case.
The aviation body moved to court seeking to repossess the land on which Weston Hotel, which is linked to the deputy president, is built after the National Land Commission declared it public land.
Yesterday, Ruto’s lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi argued that Orengo, who is also the Senator for Siaya, and Otiende, who is also the MP for Rarieda, were both lawmakers and as such are barred by law from prosecuting cases in court.
Both Orengo and Otiende were elected on the Raila-led Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party tickets.
Ahmednasir argued that the case was filed “out of ulterior motives and to attract media mileage”. He told the court that Orengo should not be part of the case as records indicated he was the Senate minority leader.
“I will be filing an application seeking to have the applicant’s lawyers withdraw from the case. The issue to be determined will be whether members of an arm of Government can represent parties. He is a leader of the minority and is expressly prohibited by the Constitution,” said Ahmednasir.
Orengo countered that he would defend his position as KCAA’s lawyer, saying similar arguments in the past to have him barred from cases for being a lawmaker had failed.
“As to the application my learned friends wants to file, many have been filed against me without success,” he argued.
Meanwhile, the two senior lawyers clashed on orders issued by the court which stopped any transactions relating to the contested property.
Orengo urged Lands Court Judge Bernard Eboso to extend his orders while Ahmednasir insisted that the orders ought to be vacated, even as he dismissed suggestions that the property might be sold.
“There is no danger of these things happening. I am even giving my word they are not selling, leasing, charging. It is self-inducement for lawyers to say this property is being sold,” said Ruto’s lawyer.
According to Ahmednasir, the orders were not part of the application filed by KCAA.
“I am opposed to further extension. Some of the orders extracted were not in the application before the court. The property is not being sold, will not be disposed, it is not being disposed, it is not being valued and will not go to any valuation,” he argued.
But Orengo told the judge that he could not take the lawyer’s word for a guarantee that nothing would happen in the intervening period between yesterday and October 3 when the case comes up for hearing.
He said that the contested property had already been charged to Kenya Commercial Bank for Sh1.15 billion hence there was a danger of it changing hands.
“If you look at the record, there have been charges against the property at different times and the danger that the property could be charged again cannot be taken for granted.Those assurances without an order of the court remain just assurances,” he argued.