Detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have launched a manhunt for a university student who has been practising law without a license while at the same time using an advocate’s credentials illegally.
In a statement on Friday, the Law Society of Kenya president Eric Theuri disclosed that he forwarded the matter to the DCI after holding a crisis meeting to discuss the identity theft case, which jeopardises the practice of law in the country.
According to the LSK, the suspect posed as a Nairobi-based lawyer, Brian Mwenda and defrauded unsuspecting clients.
The imposter continued practising until the real advocate, Brian Mwenda, reported to the Secretariat, lamenting that he could not access his LSK portal.
A photo of a man masquerading as Nairobi lawyer Brian Mwenda, posing for a photo outside Milimani Law Courts in August 2022.
Mwenda was admitted to the bar in August 2022 but had not applied for a Practising Certificate as he worked at the Office of the Attorney General.
The ICT personnel at the Secretariat noted that he had been locked out of the system as another person had taken his identity, masquerading in court as Brian Mwenda.
Following investigations from the ICT department, it was discovered that the imposter, also identifying himself as Brian Mwenda, was inactive but had contacted the secretariat to apply and pay for a certificate.
The LSK boss said that the imposter took full control of the real advocate’s account, changed his profile picture and workplace, and paid for the certificate.
However, his application was not processed since he was required to provide documents, including the certificate of business incorporation – an additional security measure added by LSK to verify one’s application.
“We wish to reiterate that our portal was not compromised, and member’s data remain safe and protected,” Theuri assured concerned LSK members.
“The LSK has commissioned an immediate review of the established protocols on change of membership credentials to enhance the internal approval mechanisms.”
Following the revelation, several public figures have defended the imposter, including the Central Organization of Trade Unions (Kenya) Secretary Francis Atwoli, who called on LSK to provide a fair opportunity to test his knowledge, skills, and competencies in law.
Atwoli also asked the government to recognise Prior Learning (RPL) in Kenya to capitalise on untapped talents that can drive the nation forward. RPL acknowledges and values the knowledge, skills, and competencies individuals have acquired through non-traditional learning paths.
Milimani Law Courts that hosts a number of courts within the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).