Police arrest quack lawyer in Kisii

A man in handcuffs. Benard Cheki Matware is accused of practising under the name of Omariba and Company Advocates.

Photo credit: File

A man has been remanded in police custody in Kisii after being arrested for allegedly impersonating a lawyer.

According to the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) - South Nyanza West Branch and police, the suspect, Benard Cheki Matware, was illegally practising under the name of Omariba and Company Advocates.

Mr Cheki had gone to the office of the Kisii County Lands Registrar, Mr Charles Ayienda, who eventually reported him to the police.

"The Lands Registrar, Mr Charles Ayienda, reported that a person claiming to be an advocate went to his office saying he was acting on behalf of his client, Venny Bosibori Ezekiel," Kisii County Police Commander Charles Kases said on Saturday.

The suspect had gone to the office to assist the unsuspecting client in obtaining land sale documents and, according to police, had obtained Sh40,000 from her.

When Mr Ayienda asked the suspect when he started practising, he was unable to explain, let alone produce a practising certificate.

Mr Kases said the suspect was arrested at the Lands Office and taken to the police cells.

"Forms duly signed by the suspect were recovered from him," Mr Kases said.

LSK South Nyanza West branch chairperson Benard Gichana, secretary general Justus Maeche and lawyer George Morara led members in warning individuals masquerading as lawyers in the region that their days were numbered.

"When we got wind of the incident, we went to the Lands Office where the suspect changed his story and claimed to be an employee of a law firm. He had documents including land sale agreements and transfer forms," said Mr Gichana.

Mr Maeche said such an incident was likely to undermine the confidence that members of the public had in the legal profession in their quest for justice. 

"The client had paid the stamp duty in March but her transaction was still pending," Mr Maeche said, adding that they would not allow an unqualified and unregistered person to practise as an advocate in the region.

Mr Kases said the suspect would be taken to court to face charges including impersonating a lawyer and obtaining money by false pretence.