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Lawyer sues EPRA over Sh73 million legal fees

Business

A city lawyer is demanding Sh73 million from the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority as legal costs for representing it in a dispute with Total Kenya Limited.

Wambua Kilonzo in his claim states he represented the authority in the five-year dispute that started in 2016 and ended in 2021 but has not been paid the legal costs, despite diligently attending court sessions and defending the institution.

“The matter ended after the High Court delivered its ruling on July 29, 2021, but the authority has not settled the instructions fees and costs for defending it despite several reminders to settle what is due to us,” said Kilonzo.

Kilonzo filed his bill of costs at the High Court seeking orders to compel EPRA to pay the Sh73,118,035.

According to the lawyer, the costs include instructions fees, getting up fees, drawing application fees, court attendance fees, correspondences fees, cost of making court copies, perusal fees, service fees, party and party costs and interests accrued.

The dispute started when Total demanded Sh2 billion from Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited for losses it incurred for marketing oil.

KPRL sued Total over the demands and sought to stop the oil marketer from taking the dispute for arbitration on account that the decision leading to the alleged losses was made by EPRA. It was then that EPRA instructed Kilonzo’s law firm on January 17, 2017, to file an application to be enjoined in the suit and defend its interests.

The dispute started when oil marketers including Total, claimed a decision by EPRA refusing to increase pump prices despite the high costs of storing petroleum products had caused its losses.

KPRL went to court to stop the company from going to arbitrations to demand huge compensation on account that they were not to blame for the refusal to increase fuel prices. Justice Joseph Sergon on July 29, 2021, dismissed KPRL’s case and directed that the matter be referred for arbitration.

According to the judge, both parties to the dispute had agreed to have any dispute settled through arbitration and he didn’t see the reason why the state agency would oppose a legal process they all agreed to.

Kilonzo said he did his part but the agency failed to honour the payments despite several reminders.

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