‘Fake’ lawyer Brian Mwenda to spend Mashujaa weekend behind bars

Brian Mwenda

Brian Mwenda at Milimani Law Courts on October 18, 2023 on charges of forging Law Society of Kenya Certificate of Practice as an advocate of the High Court. He faces five more other charges.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

Alleged fake lawyer Brian Mwenda Njagi will spend Mashujaa Day in custody after his bail application was postponed to Monday.

Mr Mwenda, who is facing forgery charges, lost round one in his bid to have the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and its president Erick Theuri thrown out of the criminal case filed against him by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

In dismissing Mr Mwenda's application to exclude LSK and Mr Theuri from the case as unmeritorious, Chief Magistrate Lucas Onyina said the defendant's plea lacked legal threshold.
Mr Onyina said LSK is a body whose members are drawn from the legal profession and therefore has a legal right to participate in the criminal case as its members were adversely affected by the actions of the accused.

"Even though LSK is an institution, its members are its shareholders and therefore entitled to represention in the case," ruled Mr Onyina.

In urging the magistrate to deny Mr Mwenda bail, the DPP and LSK lawyers comprising Mr Theuri, Bernard Atancha, Faith Odhiambio and others said the offence against the accused was serious and its implications far reaching.

“We urge this court to find that the integrity and sanctity of legal practice has a humongous bearing not only to the national development of the country but also the national security,” the DPP told the magistrate.

The DPP further told the court that the collapse of the legal practice in Kenya will lead to the collapse of the economy as contracts and other economic stimuli catapulted by the legal input will grind to a halt.

Mr Onyina was urged to deny Mr Mwenda bail on the grounds that he had abused the grain and fabric of the law by holding himself out as a member of the legal profession when he "knew that he was not qualified to adjudicate legal matters in various courts".

But defence lawyers Dr John Khaminwa and Danstan Omari urged Mr Onyina to tilt the scales of justice in favour of the accused "who is presumed innocent until proven otherwise". 

Mr Omari submitted that the offence was bailable and "no amount of persuasion by both the DPP and the LSK can override Article 49 of the Constitution which requires courts to release suspects charged before them on bail". 

Mr Mwenda, who captured the nation's attention after reports surfaced that he was impersonating a lawyer, was arraigned on October 18, 2023. 

Mr Mwenda faces six counts of making a false document, uttering a false document and identity theft.

In the first count, he is accused of knowingly and fraudulently making a false document with intent to deceive, namely a Certificate of Admission p.105/21249/22 in the name of Brian Mwenda N.
He allegedly claimed that it was a certificate of admission to practise as an advocate of the High Court duly issued by the Deputy Registrar of the High Court.

Mr Mwenda is alleged to have committed the offence between August 30, 2022 and March 3, 2023 at an unknown location in the country.

He was also charged with fraudulently uttering a forged certificate of admission in the name of Brian Mwenda N. at the offices of Mwangi Kiai LLP Advocates in Westlands, Nairobi, on March 3, 2023.
The accused was also charged with producing a forged practising certificate for the year 2023 in the name of Brian Mwenda N. purporting to be a practising certificate issued by the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary.

Mwenda is also alleged to have on August 14, 2023 at an unknown place, fraudulently and dishonestly used Advocates Admission being a unique identifier assigned to Brian Mwenda Ntwiga, an advocate of the High Court, to access and use the Law Society of Kenya online advocates account belonging to Ntwiga purporting to be him.