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State ordered to pay Hague case lawyer Sh600m

BUSIA
By | March 25th 2010

By Nancy Akinyi

An advocate has been awarded more than Sh600 million for representing the Government in a case at The Hague.

The High Court ordered that Mr Kenneth Kiplagat be paid the money, although he had sought Sh3,398,193,491.

Kiplagat had filed a bill against the Government in relation to his work in the World Duty Free case that was decided at The Hague in 2006.

The bill of costs included Sh1.2 billion claim for filing Government replies, helping the Attorney General Amos Wako prepare for arbitration and his travelling allowances, among others.

Deputy Registrar Shadrack Okato yesterday awarded him Sh600,341,251 after dismissing a preliminary objection by the AG.

The Government yesterday suffered a double blow in relation to the said multi-million shilling claim as another application before Commercial Court judge Luka Kimaru was dismissed.

Taxation

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The AG, through a State Counsel, on Tuesday made an application before Justice Kimaru raising an issue on the jurisdiction of the deputy registrar to handle the case.

The Government argued that the Deputy Registrar had no jurisdiction to decide on a case that was concluded at The Hague.

It wanted proceedings into the taxation stopped until the issue of jurisdiction was concluded.

But Justice Kimaru in his ruling early yesterday redirected the Government and Kiplagat back to the Deputy Registrar to wait for a ruling regarding how the money was to be taxed.

Mr Okato’s ruling was delivered in the afternoon. Even as the ruling was delivered, the Government said it was never given a fair hearing in the case.

An affidavit sworn by Deputy Solicitor General Muthoni Kimani argues that Kiplagat was appointed as a local advocate to facilitate the international counsel interview potential witnesses and to collect evidence in Kenya.

The Government claims Kiplagat was paid Sh27.2 million for the work done and that he never represented it at The Hague.

The international court ruling between the Government and World Duty Free was delivered on October 4, 2006.

Advocates from the Government are listed as Jan Paulsson, Constantine Pastasides and Mitesh Kotecha.

World Duty Free advocates are listed as Geoffrey Robertson, Olivia Holdsworth, Peter Buscemi and Paul Muite.

But Kiplagat contends that the case in question was one in which World Duty Free accused Kenya of breach of contract and demanded Sh40 billion in compensation.

World Duty Free owned by tycoon Nassir Ibrahim Ali, claimed the Government seized its business without compensation when it refused to participate in the Goldenberg export compensation scheme.

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