George Oraro SC

 

Position: Senior Partner/Partner in charge of the Litigation and commercial Department

Email: goraro@oraro.co.ke

Telephone: 020 – 271 3 636/271 1 480

 

Background

George Oraro has over 25 years experience in working on financial services, capital markets and other large commercial transactions. With regard to the banking industry, he has advised key players such as Commercial Bank of Africa, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) (Kenya’s primary financial services regulator), Development Bank Limited, Diamond Trust Bank (DTB), Equatorial Commercial Bank Limited, Ecobank, KCB Bank Limited (KCB (Kenya’s biggest bank, network-wise)), National Bank of Kenya (NBK), Prime Bank Limited and The Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank (an African regional development institution)). Recognised as one of Kenya’s top litigators, he has been practicing for 40 years and has been involved in various landmark cases. As a litigator, he has practiced in the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court (Kenya’s highest court). He has also practiced at the International Criminal Court. He has been involved in arbitration tribunals (both local and International). Leading legal directories, Chambers Global and Legal 500 rank George Oraro as a top-tier lawyer in dispute resolution (Band 1). Aside from his leadership roles in the firm, he was a member of the Nairobi Securities Exchange’s (NSE) Technical Committee and the Kenyan Capital Market’s Authority’s (CMA) Legal Panel, Disclosure and Standards’ Committee. Previously, he was a board member at the CMA for 6 years, and was involved in shaping the legal and regulatory framework for the Kenya capital markets from its formative phase. He also previously served as a Commissioner of Assize equivalent of a Judge in Kenya. He was also recently appointed as Honorary Consul for the Republic of Lithuania.

Membership in Professional Societies

  • Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association
  • East Africa Law Society
  • Law Society of Kenya

Professional Qualifications

  • Advocate of the High Court of Kenya
  • LLB(Hons.), University of Nairobi

Employment

  • Kaplan and Stratton Advocates
  • Oraro & Co. Advocates

Accolades

  • Highly Regarded lawyer, IFLR 1000 2018 (Project Development and M&A)
  • Leading legal directory, Legal 500 (2017), lauds George Oraro saying, “[He is] a reliable and learned adviser”.
  • Leading legal directory, Chambers Global (2017), lauds George Oraro saying, “[he] is very, very knowledgeable and very experienced – an excellent litigator”.
  • In 2012, his Excellency Hon. Mwai Kibaki(now, former) President of Kenya recognized George Oraro for his exemplary service to the legal and public service in Kenya and conferred upon him the rank of and dignity of Senior Counsel.
  • Served as a Commissioner of Assize equivalent to a High Court Judge in 1986
  • Involved in the committees drafting the Initial Public Offering(IPO) and Take-over and Mergers regulations

Top matters

  • Legal advisor on the government to government collaboration between the Kenyan Government and China National Petroleum Corporation (a state corporation based in China)) in a proposed project to develop up to 350 MW of geothermal power
  • Advising and acting for a Kenyan pension scheme in defending a judgement by the Retirement Benefits Tribunal for a sum in excess of KES 7 billion (USD 70 million) by former employees of Telkom Kenya limited as being the total of their unpaid retirement dues
  • Advising the Kenyan Government as part of a consortium of local and international firms, during the privatisation of Kenya Posts and Telecommunications Corporation and subsequent creation of Telkom, Postal Corporation of Kenya and the Communications Commission of Kenya. Tasks included reviewing policy documents, statutes, existing loan documentation, conducting due diligence and drafting transaction documents
  • Contracted by the Kenyan Government to review the Mining Act (Cap. 306, Laws of Kenya) and recommend an appropriate legal and institution framework
  • Acting in a claim seeking the tracing and recovery of approximately USD 340 million (KES 34 billion) which was fraudulently siphoned from a Kenyan bank (it is one of the largest banking fraud disputes in Kenya). We successfully defended the client against a claim by the shareholders seeking to be enjoined in this suit, against stiff competition
  • Representing PTA Bank at the ICC for a USD 4 million (KES 400 million) claim
  • Advised on an energy project with Design Build Finance Maintain Operate aspects where we acted for the owner of five (5) SPVS entitled to generating 40 MW of solar energy each, in a transaction to sell the SPVs as well as all the rights and licenses required to generate such power. Also,  transferring the land which is subject to the licenses (the matter did not progress to completion)
  • Advising the project sponsor in the development of a high-end luxury hotel in Nairobi, through a joint venture and a build operate model that envisages the transfer of land and the hotel back to the landowner, after a set period of time
  • Advised Ascent Rift Valley Fund Ltd (a Mauritius based private equity fund) that invested in Kisumu Concrete Products Ltd (the Target) which deals with the manufacture and supply of building materials. We undertook a comprehensive legal due diligence in respect to the Target’s legal and corporate compliance status
  • Worked with an American firm to review and recommend an appropriate legal and institutional framework in the energy sector and thereafter oversaw the legal aspects of the restructuring of Kenya Power Company and Kenya Power & Lighting Company Limited. In particular, the assets and liabilities transfer, in respect of power generation and transmission/distribution
  • Acted for the Central Bank of Kenya in the recovery of all amounts in the “Goldenberg” related cases, in excess of USD 1 billion (KES 100 bilion)
  • Advising one of Kenya’s largest publicly listed sugar manufacturing companies on the restructuring of its debts by both local and international lenders
  • Advising a client on the legal structure of its equipment leasing framework and reviewing its operating lease and installment sale and full maintenance agreement
  • Advising a client on the creation of securities in the leasing of movable assets
  • Lead legal advisor in the KCB Rights issue (2004)
  • Leader of the legal team for the DTB Rights Issue (2014)
  • Leader of the legal team for the NBK Rights Issue (2014)
  • Team leader 1988, 1996 and 1998 on the initial and secondary privatisation of KCB Bank Kenya Limited which included ESOPs to KCB employees
  • Advising ICDC and the Kenyan Government on the amendment of the ICDC’s Memorandum and Articles of Association and application to both the CMA and the NSE for increase of capital and a rights issue
  • Advising on the privatisation of Kenya Re including on a shares sale to a strategic investor
  • Review of the Memorandum and Articles of Association of DTB
  • One of the lead legal advisors in the first stage of Telkom’s sale of a substantial stake to a strategic investor and IPO
  • One of the lead legal advisors to the Kenyan Government and KenGen in the in the sale of thirty per cent (30%) of its stock in KenGen, through an IPO at the NSE
  • Acting in ICDC’s secondary privatisation a rights issue
  • Successfully represented Vivo Energy and its related companies in an income tax appeal at the High Court
  • Successfully represented Stanchart in the case of Intercom v. Standard Chartered (a landmark Kenyan case in banking law and illegality)
  • Acting in a suit against ABN AMRO Bank and its officers in a matter involving fraudulent claims and liability by officers of the Bank in making advances to ABN AMRO Bank
  • Represented an international mining company in a dispute with the Kenya Pipeline Company worth USD 41 million
  • Representing Dufry International AG in a dispute revolving the award of the contract to operate duty-free shops at Terminal 1A at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Kenya’s main airport)
  • Successfully represented parties in an arbitration at the ICC
  • Successfully represented parties in the winding up petition for Rai Plywoods (Kenya)
  • Successfully represented the Capital Markets Authority on appeals against its statutory enforcements
  • Successfully represented KQ in regards to its 2012 “contested” redundancy exercise (a landmark employment law case)
  • Acted and successfully represented Stanchart in a tax appeal before the High Court in which the taxman made a claim that group life premiums paid by Stanchart for the benefit of its employees are gains on profit, chargeable to tax, under the provisions of the Income Tax Act
  • Represented KRA in a judicial review matter in which the applicant, a leading tobacco company was challenging a demand for payment of excise duty of KES 248 million (USD 2.5 million)
  • Successfully represented a leading corrugated roofing solutions company (the Company), in an appeal by KRA pursuant to Section 86(2) of the Income Tax Act, challenging the decision of the local committee which expressed an opinion which allowed the Company’s appeal in the local committee. The matter also involved an appeal on Withholding Tax
  • Represented BIDCO in the High Court in a suit that stemmed from an assessment raised on the basis of offsetting foreign exchange losses
  • Counsel for the companies in winding-up petitions for Tatu City Limited and Kofinaf Company Limited. The companies were engaged in development of a large, high-profile, high-end, mixed-use residential and commercial development in the outskirts of Nairobi
  • Successfully represented a party at the International Criminal Court in a case arising out of the 2007 post election violence in Kenya

Insights

  • Even more changes: a look at the new Tax Procedures Act, 2015

  • Practice Areas


    Sectors