Rival LSK council members hold parallel city meetings
The battle for control of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) took a new twist yesterday after nine rebel council members overturned decision by President Nelson Havi to sack Chief Executive Officer Mercy Wambua.
At a parallel meeting convened at LSK headquarters, the nine overruled Havi on the alleged termination of Ms Wambua’s contract, saying the move was not backed by any council resolution.
As the nine were holding their meeting, Havi also convened a parallel one with three council members, where a resolution was reached at that a forensic audit of LSK accounts be conducted amid claims of unaccounted Sh67 million.
Havi’s team also claims that massive amount of money from other categories of collections such as fines collected at the Advocates Disciplinary Committee and car park fees cannot be accounted for.
“We have this morning engaged an auditor to undertake a forensic audit of accounts and balances of LSK for the period January 1, 2019 to August 31, 2020 in accordance with the members’ resolution of July 23, and the August 10 resolution of the council,” Havi stated in a letter dated November 9 to all LSK members.
On Havi’s side are council members Carolyne Kamende, Herine Kabita and Esther Ang’awa.
On the other hand, the rebels comprise Roseline Odede, George Omwansa, Carolyne Mutheu, Faith Odhiambo, Aluso Ingati, Ndinda Kinyili, Bernhard Ng’etich, Riziki Emukule and Beth Michoma.
In their resolution, the nine insisted that Ms Wambua had been reinstated as the CEO on October 19 to continue discharging her duties, and therefore, Havi’s insinuation to the contrary is null and void.
“There is no council resolution removing Ms Mercy Wambua, and or terminating her employment contract as CEO/Secretary.
Havi’s letter is, therefore, null and void ad initio. The same should be disregarded in totality,” the nine said.
According to the rebel members, the CEO is an appointee of the council and not LSK President, and can therefore, only be dismissed or removed from office by the former in accordance to section 26 of the LSK Act, 2014.
The nine hinted at having initiated efforts to reconcile the warring factions in the LSK council.
“We have reached out to several senior members of the legal profession to intervene towards the amicable resolution of the impasse between Havi and council members,” they said.
Meanwhile, Senior Counsel Philip Murgor has urged the chairman of the Senior Counsel Bar Fred Ojiambo to either directly mediate or appoint an independent team to reconcile Havi and the warring faction.
“It has always been my decision not to respond to Havi’s reckless tweets. But on these accusations, the young man should realise that the three of us; Matiang’i, Ojiambo and myself met over a serious matter, to arrange how to accord a heroic send off to the late Senior Counsel Nzamba Gitonga. Let him leave us alone,” Murgor said.
Murgor while calling on Ojiambo to expedite mediation in LSK said the lawyers’ umbrella body has of late become “a laughing stock”.
And during his meeting with the council members, Havi claimed fees collected by LSK during Ms Wambua’s tenure do not tally with the money banked.
Havi claims that LSK bank account at the Kenya Commercial Bank had Sh71 million, as at March 17 but by September 14 the balance was Sh2 million without any explanation.
Havi questioned alleged irregular withdrawals from KCB, citing the withdrawal of Sh49.5 million on March 18 and Sh20 million two days later.