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16th Oct 2023

Man who ‘faked’ being a lawyer but still won dozens of cases has been arrested

Steve Hopkins

He has been praised as a ‘brilliant young mind’ who succeeded ‘without traditional qualifications’

A fake lawyer who won 26 cases after reportedly stealing the identity of a real barrister has been arrested by authorities in Kenya.

Legal officials had been pushed for police to arrest a man practicing under the name “Brian Mwenda”.

They said the man was a “masquerader” who had stolen the identity of a real lawyer named Brian Mwenda Ntwiga.

Despite not having any training, local media reported that Mwenda had won dozens of cases.

The ‘fake laywer’ case, the BBC reported, has captivated the East African country with people being both amused and outraged.

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and the country’s Director of Public Prosecutions has condemned Mwenda’s behaviour, but he has also gained several supporters, whom he thanked in a video posted to social media last week.

Kenya’s Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) praised Mwenda as a “brilliant young mind” who has succeeded “without traditional qualifications”. He has also been supported by controversial former governor of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, Mike Sonko.

Sonko posted a video on social media, in which he said the man standing next to him is the accused “fake lawyer”.

The man, who appeared to be Mwenda, says in the short video: “I would like to convey my gratitude to the people that are supporting me and praying for me… in the fullness of time I will be able to clear this misunderstanding.

“I will be also be able to provide my innocence and provide the actual context.”

Mwenda said he would attend a police station in the coming days to give a statement.

Soko, who has faced allegations of drug trafficking and money laundering, said those attacking the “fake lawyer” are “nincompoops”.

“He’s never killed anyone, he’s not a terrorist,” Sonko says in the video.

Kenya’s director of public prosecutions, Renson Mulele Ingonga, has said Mwenda will face prosecution.

In a statement on Saturday he also noted that there had been “increased cases of unqualified persons… pretending to be Advocates of the High Court of Kenya”.

According to a report in The Nigerian Tribune, Mwenda won dozens of cases in front of Magistrates, Court of Appeal Judges, and High Court judges.

According to NDTV, Mwenda was arrested after the Rapid Action Team of the Nairobi Branch of the Law Society of Kenya received several public complaints.

“The Branch wishes to notify all members of the society and of the public that BRIAN MWENDA NJAGI is not an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, from the Society’s records, neither is he a member of the Branch,” The Law Society of Kenya wrote on X.

The outlet also reports that he is being held by officials for further investigation.

Ghana Web reported that Mwenda allegedly accessed The Law Society of Kenya portal and identified the account of the man with a name similar to his and tampered with the details and uploaded his photo.

The outlet reported that the real Brian Mwenda Ntwiga contacted the Secretariat after realising he could no longer log into the system and noticed his details had changed.

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