Seven of Kenya’s most distinguished law firms have been asked to appear at an enquiry involving a multi-billion shilling scandal.

Among them is one of the country’s oldest firm of advocates – Hamilton Harrison and Mathews – which was said to have received more than Sh1 billion from Goldenberg International accounts held at Exchange Bank between August 1992 and May 1993.

One of the commissioners, Mr Peter Le Pelley, was a partner in the firm, although he had left by the time the commission was appointed in March this year. Served with a similar notice was Mutula Kilonzo and Co, which has been representing retired President Moi and members of his immediate family.

That firm, along with lawyers Shapley Barret and Co, held two separate accounts at Exchange Bank. One of them in a single day – March 9, 1993 – allegedly received a staggering Sh783 million from Goldenberg.

According to evidence presented to the commission, Shapley Barret and Co received Sh13,196,718.85 from Goldenberg in four instalments between August 1992 and January 21, 1993.

Mutula Kilonzo and Co separately received Sh2,175,000 from the KSKP account which belonged to Mr Kamlesh Pattni and Mr Kean Somaia, the commission was told. Mr Philip Moi, a son of the former president, was a signatory to the account.

The other four law firms served with notice of possible adverse mention were Bhailal Patel and Patel, Ismail and Ismail (which also appears as Esmail and Esmail), M. M. Chaudhri Advocates, and Rustam Hira and Company.

All seven firms have acknowledged receipt of the notices.