|Former Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu.|
By Wilfred Ayaga
Nairobi, Kenya: In one of the country’s most expensive election petitions, former Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu has been slapped with an over Sh50 million bill as costs of the petition he filed against Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero last year.
Although the High Court ordered Waititu pay Sh5 million as election costs of the petition, he is staring at a bill of over ten times that amount as party-to-party costs. Kidero’s lawyers have filed a bill of costs in, which they want Waititu to refund over Sh40 million paid to them as fees for defending the petition.
They argue their client incurred huge costs in defending the petition filed by Waititu who moved to court in June last year to challenge Kidero’s election as Governor.
The former MP is faced with a further Sh10 million bill payable to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the Returning Officer of the National Tallying Centre, Isaac Hassan and the Nairobi County Returning Officer.
The three were named as the first, second and third respondents respectively in Waititu’s court challenge.
The Advocates Act states the fees charged on costs should be based on nature and importance of the applications, complexity and time spent by the advocates. If the cost is entered against the party at the conclusion of the petition, one bears the cost of the other party in addition to its own. However, judges may decide each party bears its own legal costs.
The bill of costs drawn against Waititu also contains other fine details of expenditure incurred by the advocates who defended Kidero during the initial petition and the subsequent appeal.
The lawyers want Waititu to remit Sh1,000 as costs of attending court for mention of directions.
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They are also demanding another Sh1,000 for attending court for delivery of the ruling.
Other additional costs contained in the bill against Waititu include drawing of affidavits, producing exhibits and making copies of various court papers. Waititu had argued in his petition that Kidero was not validly elected and that his election was riddled with irregularities and electoral malpractices.
In their court papers, Kidero’s lawyers have defended the huge bill paid to them as fees in defending the petition, both at the High Court and in the court of appeal.
“The bill takes into account remuneration structure for State officers in Kenya, specifically the Governor and Deputy Governor as proposed by the salaries and Remuneration Commission,” they say.