According to a report by the Controller of Budget, lawyers representing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) received Sh445.5 million in legal fees after the disputed election results in the past year.
The amount was paid out from September to December, following the Kenyan presidential election that President William Ruto won on August 9.
In the first six months of the fiscal year, legal fees for IEBC litigation amounted to Sh515.56 million, with Sh70 million spent between July and September.
A large portion of this sum was disbursed to lawyers representing IEBC in the 2022 presidential election petition filed by Raila Odinga of the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition.
IEBC has spent millions of shillings on legal fees due to lawsuits from candidates challenging the outcomes of elections in all six positions since the introduction of the 2010 Constitution.
As a result, the National Treasury increased its allocation for legal fees in the IEBC’s Legal and Public Affairs department to Sh1.2 million, up from the Sh859.3 million allocated for the 2017 elections.
To date, IEBC has had to defend itself before the Supreme Court in all three polls since 2010, leading to significant unpaid legal bills that have accumulated over time.
Pending bills owed to lawyers amount to around Sh3.74 billion, which is 85% of the entire Sh4.4 billion unpaid bills owed to various suppliers as of March 10, 2023.
Meanwhile, a report presented to the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly by IEBC CEO Marjan Hussein Marjan in the last month indicated that the lawyers who represented the agency in the 2022 presidential election petition would collectively receive Sh567.3 million.
The commission shortlisted 148 law firms to provide legal services, out of which 28 were hired to defend IEBC’s interests in the last presidential election petition.