BY NT CORRESPONDENT.
Law Society of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mercy Wambu has dismissed claims that millions belonging to the society have been lost under her watch.
While dismissing claims made by LSK president Nelson Havi, Wambua said it was not true that monies were paid to unknown or disclosed accounts.
“It is therefore not true that there are any sums of monies that have been paid out to unknown or undisclosed accounts or persons as alleged by the President,” said Wambua.
Havi through a social media post claimed that the lawyers’ umbrella body cannot trace or recover over Sh70 million of contributions.
“Members of the Law Society of Kenya cannot trace, recover and punish for theft of over Sh. 70,000,000.00 of members’ contributions when those liable insist on remaining in office despite having been fired. It is worse when they are being protected by god fathers and mothers,” said Havi.
But LSK CEO in her statement explained that on March 17, 2020 the transfer of Sh50 million only was debited (money out) from the LSK KCB collection account thus reducing the ledger balance from Sh71,077,468; Sh22 million to Sh 21, 067, 468. 22 million and the funds were credited (money in) to LSK KCB fixed deposit account thus increasing the ledger balance from Sh. -5,217. 60million to Sh. 50,004,782.40 million.
“We have noted that there was a page omitted which contained the transaction of Sh50, 010,000 in the statement circulated by the President,” said Wambua.
She added that the Sh50,000,000 was invested in two batches of Sh30,000,000 for three months and Sh20,000,000 for six months respectively transferred to the Society’s Interest earning Fixed Deposit account which earned an interest of Sh514,191 and Sh685,589 respectively as per the Bank Statement.
She added per November 12, 2020, Sh50 million was still at the Society’s bank accounts.
In her statement, she detailed dates and how money was moved from each account to the other and added that the society’s accounts have signatories whom money cannot be withdrawn or transferred without their signatures.
The account’s current Bank signatories are vice President Carolyne Kamende Daudi, Treasurer – Bernhard Kipkoech Ngetich, Council Member Roseline Odede and the CEO.
Previously, they included former LSK president Allen Gichuhi, Treasurer Maria Mbeneka, council member Roseline Odede and herself as the CEO.
Wambua added that the Council meeting held on August 102020, the Council resolved that the appointment of the Law Society of Kenya forensic auditor for the January, 2019 – December, 2019 accounts be conducted by one of the three audit firms proposed by the Council, the forensic audit to be undertaken to be extend to cover the periods January 2020 to August 2020.
The three proposed firms were Parker Randall East Africa, PricewaterhouseCoopers & KPMG International Limited.
She said it was agreed that the three firms would submit their expression of interest or proposals after which the audit committee would consider the proposals and recommend to the Council the firm to undertake the audit.
It was resolved by Council to extend the period by fourteen days to give all the three firms an opportunity to respond.
This is the meeting that resulted in the CEO’s suspension. She said it is important to note that all the issues raised by the President in his letter dated November 9, 2020 have never been presented before the Council for deliberation.
Both the forensic and external audit didn’t form part of the charges levelled against the CEO when she was sent on suspension on September 14, 2020.
“It is important to note that all the issues raised by the president in his letter dated November 9, 2020 have never been presented before the Council for deliberatiin and on both the forensic and external audit didn’t form part of the charges levelled against the CEO when she was sent on suspension on September 14, 2020,” added the CEO.
She further said that subsequent three Council meetings (October 6, 2020, October 2020 and October 19, 2020) dealt with the hearing of the CEO’s response to the notice to show cause issued d to her, the Council members’ voting on the CEO’s issue and passing a resolution on the same and communication of the Council decision on the CEO’s employment to her respectively.
The pending issues touching on practice matters, members’ issues, and appointment of the forensic, external auditor amongst others were addressed in the Council Meeting held on 9th November, 2020.
During the meeting held on November 9, 2020 the Council through the Audit Committee, ascertained that there were two applicants for the forensic audit and fifteen applicants for the annual statutory audit.
The Council resolved that the recruitment of the auditor (s) for the two audits be concluded during the next Ordinary Council Meeting and the terms of reference for the shortlisted applicant (s) be prepared in advance so that they are communicated to the finalists during the next ordinary council meeting.
“Important to note is that an audit report from the Audit and Risk Committee was to be tabled by the Chair of the Committee before the Council during this meeting. However, the President failed to attend the meeting despite its notice and agenda having been issued to the Council within the stipulated timelines. The presentation of the audit report was therefore deferred to November 20, 2020 along with other Committee reports”, Wambua added.
The Council supports the audit process, however the process of appointing the auditor must comply with LSK’s procurement processes.
” There has been no resistance against the implementation of the members’ resolution to appoint the auditors to undertake the two audits. The recruitment process is still ongoing and the award is yet to be made. We shall communicate after the next ordinary council meeting scheduled to take place on November 20, 2020″ she added.