Samburu herdsmen who had taken former Kenyan President Moi to court for transferring their ancestral Ol Pejeta ranch land to an American foundation have been slapped with a Sh52.4 million ($524,000) as legal fees.
The Samburu herdsmen had sued President Moi for transferring the 17,000 acre Eland Downs – also known as Kabarak Farm – to Kenya Wildlife Service and later African Wildlife Foundation for Sh400 million ($4,000,000).
The land was previously known as Ol Pejeta Ranch when it was owned by billionaire Adnan Khashoggi.
The latest invoice of Sh40.6 million is from the Nakuru lawfirm of Kiplenge & Kurgat and was served on Samburu community lawyer Suyuanka Lempaa. Already, the Nairobi lawfirm of Kaplan and Stratton has invoiced the community for Sh11.8 million.
Kaplan and Stratton Advocates demanded the money after an eight-year court battle in which the Land and Environment Court in Nyeri County dismissed the case with costs to the community.
According to documents served to the community’s lawyer, Suyianka Lempaa, Kaplan and Stratton made 290 appearances in court on behalf of AWF, which was listed as the first defendant in the case.
Mr Lempaa has protested against the legal fee charges, saying AWF should be considerate and waive it.
Mr Moi was represented in the case by lawyer Juma Kiplenge while lawyer Ambonya Wachira represented KWS.
Kaplan and Stratton Advocates made the first appearance in court on October 19, 2009 up to February 17, 2017 when the case was closed and scheduled for judgment.
The law firm had all through defended the Washington-based AWF, arguing that the land was acquired legally for conservation of wild animals.
Also read: How the Samburu lost Ol Pejeta Ranch to Moi