Law Society of Kenya chairman Erick Mutua at the Milimani law courts advocate chamber, Nairobi October 17, 2014 issuing a press statement over Lamu curfew.
BY SAM ALFAN.
The legal umbrella body (LSK) will not pay Sh 6 million as construction levy to National Construction Authority (NCA).
Justice George Odunga this afternoon issued orders prohibiting the construction authority from demanding the amount from the lawyer’s umbrella body pending determination of a case it has filed to contest the new legislation.
The orders were issued after the legal umbrella body moved to court under certificate of urgency seeking orders to restrain National Construction Authority (NCA) from demanding Sh 6 million fees for their proposed construction of its Sh1.2 billion International Arbitration and Convention Centre in Nairobi.
Their lawyer told the court that, the National Construction Authority will not suffer any prejudices if the court grants their pleas pending hearing and determination of their suit challenging the levy by the authority.
The legal umbrella body is currently working on the proposed construction of its Sh1.2 billion International Arbitration and Convention Centre along Mombasa road in Nairobi and under regulation 25 of the National Construction Authority regulations, it is required to pay SH 6 million as construction levy for convention centre.
Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has formed a Committee on the construction of its Sh1.2 billion International Arbitration and Convention Centre in Nairobi.
The LSK Secretary or CEO Mr. Apollo Mboya said that the Council appointed senior lawyer Mr. Paul Mwaniki Gachoka as the Chairman of the nine-member Committee on Funding Options.
The Committee Members are Mr. Charles Onyango, Mr. Evans Ondieki, Mr., Stephen Mallowah, Ms. Lucy Wanja, Mr. Charles Kioko, Mr. Benson Ashitiva, Ms. Sally Mukhabana and Ms. Victoria Chelangat.
The lawyer’s umbrella body argues that the said figure is astronomical as it will require the body to recover the amount from its members.
Legal umbrella body is opposed to the construction levy legislation on grounds that there was no consultation by the Cabinet Secretary Lands Housing and Urban Development with the public or relevant stakeholders prior to the imposition of the latter.
“We have several tried to consult with the Cabinet Secretary Lands Housing and Urban and all other relevant stakeholders prior to the imposition of the latter to bring our issues to their attention but it all become futile and that why we decided to come before you” said LSK lawyer.
By legal notice 74 dated June 6 2014, the National Construction Authority regulations 2014. LSK argues that there was no consultation with the County government as mandated under Article 185 of the Constitution.
The legal body has accused the National Construction Authority (NCA) of imposing construction tax without the provisions of any services in return.
The lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu has been accused of offending section 5 of the statutory instruments Act which requires the respondents to make appropriate consultations prior to the introduction of the construction levy.
“Imposition of construction levy without a proper basis infringes on a citizen’s right to adequate housing,’’ LSK states.
They argues public participation is necessary in matters of public finance hence imposition of the construction levy offends the cardinal principle that there cannot be taxation without a corresponding service.
LKS goes on to say that Construction levy affects the housing sector that falls within the jurisdiction of the county governments.
Nairobi governor, Evans Kidero has since questioned the move by the national government to impose 0.5 percent levy on construction.
Kidero letter addressed to lands Cabinet Secretary States that the regulations were prepared without consultation with County governments.
Kidero has pointed out that the construction levy is caused to impact heavily on housing as well as pushes the cost of providing urban technical services.
Section of the advocates in the country are dissatisfied with their Chairman, Eric Mutua, for imposing KES 39 000 on them as contribution towards the construction of Society’s proposed International Arbitration Center in Nairobi.
Four lawyers filed a case challenging a decision by the Law Society of Kenya to increase the fee for a practicing certificate and build a Sh1.2 billion arbitration centre.
They said the LSK has made it mandatory for lawyers to pay an extra amount of between Sh39,000 and Sh50,000 for the centre’s construction besides the charges for a practising certificate.
Deynes Murithi, Alexander Muchemi, Anna Cherono and Paul Kibiku say the LSK did not consult lawyers before making the decision.
The matter will be mention on January 16 before the duty judge for further directions.