ORENGO STOPS REPRESENTING KCAA IN WESTON HOTEL CASE.

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Senior Counsel James Orengo who has said he has right of representing Kenya Civil Aviation Authority in a dispute involving the land on which Weston Hotel stands.

BY SAM ALFAN.

Lawyer James Orengo has ceased from representing Kenya Civil Aviation Authority in a dispute case involving the land on which Weston Hotel stands.

This is after lawyer Stephen Ligunya informed the High Court that KCAA term application seeking to stop Orengo from acting for them as a side show and decided that senior counsel will not be participating in the Weston Hotel case.

Weston Hotel Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi who had made application for Orengo to exit the matter claiming the senator was acting for Orange Democratic Party Raila Odinga interests said he was disappointed with Orengo exit.

“Am disappointed that Senior Counsel James orengo has opted out this matter”, Ahmednasir told the court

Further, Ahmednasir questioned the headline by the local newspaper titled ” Bank fights to get sh1billion from Ruto hotel”. He said the headline by the newspaper is a scheme to litigate what is not before the court and the bank raised a small issue of rejoinder in their application.

In an application filed in court, Ahmednassir argued that Orengo, who previously served as Lands minister during retired President Mwai Kibaki’s administration, should be disqualified from representing the State agency on the basis of conflict of interest.

In an urgent application filed before the Environmental and Land Court, Ahmednassir further said the Siaya Senator has no instructions to act on behalf of KCAA.

He said Orengo’s role in this Weston Hotel matter is purely political mischief making , solely intended to muddle the issues in contest for a temporal political nuisance.

Ahmednasir further told the court that , Orengo has come into the matter to gain political capital for his principal in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party with a view to scandalise and vex Weston Hotel.

He added that the veteran lawyer was not in the panel of advocates appointed to represent the agency. Ahmednassir further said Orengo, in his capacity as the Leader of Minority in the Senate, is a State officer prohibited from undertaking any other gainful employment.

“A leader of the Senate acting or prosecuting cases before the Judiciary is a clear breach of separation of powers and a threat to the independence of Judiciary and his presence in this case violates the code of conduct that regulates behavior of State officers,” Ahmednassir said.

Orengo responded to SC Ahmednasir application he has the right of representing Kenya Civil Aviation Authority in a dispute involving the land on which Weston Hotel stands.

While responding to application by lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, who wants Orengo stopped from acting for KCAA, the Siaya Senator said he is only engaged as one of the lead advocates.

Senior Counsel Orengo argued that every litigant has a constitutional right to representation by an advocate of choice as an integral part of the right to fair hearing and attempt to bar him or any other advocate is an attempt at interfering with the KCAA’s right to an Advocate of choice as an aspect of fair hearing.

“The questions of disqualification and procurement are irrelevant. In any event, the question relating to how a Client litigant procures his advocate of choice is not for this Environment and Land Court to determine, but by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board”, said Orengo SC.

He added that Weston Hotel cannot be allowed to determine for KCAA which lawyer to represent the agency. He added that serving in the Senate does not bar him from representing a party in court.

“The fact that I am a Senate Majority Leader does not introduce any issue of conflict of interest. In any event, the Senate Minority Leader does not oversight parastatals such as KCAA,” added Orengo.

SC Orengo said there can be no conflict of interest or bar against him in seeking to assist a public body to regain public land improperly appropriated against the law and Weston Hotel application demonstrates its legitimate fear and apprehension on the capacity and capabilities of the Petitioner’s advocates which fear cannot be allowed to supersede the Petitioner’s right to counsel of choice.

He further said ODM party is not a party in the proceedings, nor to the best of their knowledge is Weston Hotel a political party or aspirant.

“We however note and welcome the insinuation and the association implied between Weston Hotel and some political actors which caused the irregular acquisition of the land in issue as contended in the Petition,” he said.

He said the application Weston is merely intended to introduce sideshows and prolong proceedings so as to avoid addressing the issues within the Petition on merit.

“It cannot lie for Ahmednassir, SC to raise such objection when, throughout his own term as a state officer serving in the Judicial Service Commission, he practiced in courts for the entire duration without any restriction,” added Orengo.

Ahmednassir argued that Orengo, who previously served as Lands minister during retired President Mwai Kibaki’s administration, should be disqualified from representing the State agency on the basis of conflict of interest.

One of the firms involved in the dispute, Priority Ltd, claimed it was legitimately allocated and legally registered as the proprietor.

The firm said the property has never been acquired by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and the State agency has no worthy evidence to prove ownership. Priority Ltd denied allegations by the agency of impropriety, illegality and fraud in the purchase and transfer of the land.

The firm, through Katwa and Kemboy Advocates, asserted that its title is conclusive evidence of ownership and cannot be revoked. There is no basis for any claim for restitution by KCAA or any third party, and invited the Environment and Land Court to dismiss the sanctions against Priority Ltd, Weston Hotel Ltd and Monene Investments Ltd.

While responding to petition by KCAA, Priority Limited invited the court to dismiss the claim by the State agency and denied having grabbed the parcel of prime land through forcible eviction of government employees. The firm dismissed claims that it was a beneficiary of corruption.

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), through Mohamed and Muigai Advocates, has already applied to participate in the dispute on the basis that it is the registered chargee. The bank claims beneficial interest in the property, in which was used to secure loan by the hotel.

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