Cliff Ombeta speaks on Pastor Ng’ang’a fallout, being unmarried

  • Lawyer Cliff Ombeta speaks about falling out with Apostle Ng’ang’a
  • He also touches on working with Miguna, the ‘innocent’ Akasha boys and why he won’t fly to America

You claim it is your legal manoeuvres that got Apostle Nganga acquitted

Yes. I was the first person he called when he got into the unfortunate accident. When we went to court, the prosecution wanted to take his blood samples for DNA testing because there was blood inside Ng’ang’a’s Range Rover.

I vigorously declined and asked the judge not to allow that to happen. If they took his DNA, how sure are we that it was not going to planted at the scene of the accident?

When Ng’ang’a was acquitted, the magistrate said the main reason he was letting him go is because the prosecution couldn’t prove that Ng’ang’a was the one driving the car, because the blood found on the driver’s seat was not compared to Ng’ang’a DNA.

But you have sued him for Sh 5.1 million for legal service. At what point did you fallout?

When he refused to pay me. He knew the case I had prepared for him was watertight and he suddenly refused to pay me.

I have sued him, and he will pay. He contracted me due to the complexity of the matter. He should therefore not avoid expenses that come with good legal brains.

He must be mad if he said he did not contract me. I cannot just wake up and take a case I was not invited to.

Which is the easiest criminal case you’ve ever handled?

A Nigerian man was arrested because he was found with what police thought were drugs. He was arraigned in court and I asked him to plead guilty.

The judge then sentenced him and I took the case for Judicial Review. What the cops had not done was to take the so called drugs to the lab for tests to ascertain if indeed they were real drugs.

At the Judicial Review, the case was thrown out because there was no evidence that the man actually had real drugs.

You represent the worst in the society; murderers, killer policemen, drug traffickers…

Hold on. You can’t judge my clients yet no court has ever found them guilty. Everyone is settled to representation by a lawyer. For instance, the policeman Katitu, he was my friend.

The first time I met him, I had come from Thika Court, and since I was driving a Mercedes convertible, a thief stole my phone as I was in traffic.

Two days later, Katitu brought me the phone and he refused to take any money that I offered as a token of appreciation. He is a policeman who actually believed in his calling and stayed true to his work ethics.

Although I don’t want to go into specifics. We have appealed the death sentence and we shall win. For cops who allegedly killed lawyer Willy Kimani, when I represented them, I got calls from senior lawyers threatening me with death.

But honestly, if someone isn’t represented by a lawyer, the case will be overturned on appeal. Legal representation is important to hold up verdicts.

Which has been the highest amount you’ve ever been paid in your criminal law career?

There are so many. Criminal law is lucrative. The highest amount is…no, it runs into millions for one case. I won’t say how much. But it was by the Akashas.

And I indeed fought for them until the last minute. It took almost a half a year to get them bail. When we finally succeeded, their mother came to me crying and hugged me.

I was so overwhelmed and I cried. It’s one of the few times I have cried in my life. The other time was when I lost my brother and father.

About the Akashas, were they really drug peddlers?

No way. It was a set-up. They were set-up by the American government. The case was heard in Kenyan courts and we won the extradition case.

The government appealed and two days before the court of appeal gave their ruling, American marines burst into their house, arrested them and took them to America.

We were fighting against a system that had already decided the fate of the two innocent boys.

So that’s a reason you can’t go to America?

Yes, at one point, I realized the DEA were trailing me and when I was in a Mombasa hotel, I found one taking pictures of me using their laptops.

I took the laptop and threw it in the ocean. They told me if I set foot in America they will arrest me for destroying government property.

But America is not heaven. I am very comfortable in Kenya. I have no reason to visit America.

You are evidently rich. Why aren’t you married, and what happened to your first wife?

We had a fall out, I felt my life was in danger and it was better we separate. I have single handedly taken care of my children and I don’t think I would want to change that.

As for success, it is true, I am very good and successful at what I do. I have made enough money. I practice law because of the passion. I grew up in a relatively well-off family.

My father was a commissioner of customs at Kenya Revenue Authority. I got significant inheritance and I have also made enough money.

Money isn’t everything, but my family, and the law, is everything. I live for those two things. There are women around but I can’t say what tomorrow brings. Who knows, I might fall in love…

Which is the most dangerous case you’ve ever taken?

None. Maybe Akashas, because we were fighting the American DEA and their trumped up charges. I ensure I tell my clients what I can do and how far I can go as the law agrees. If we are honest with each other, there is no need for a client to turn against you.

If you were accused of murder right now, who is the first lawyer you would call?

I would call Wandugi Kirathe immediately, He is a gentleman I have worked with, and he is a genius at criminal law. I can also retain Jared Magolo. He is brilliant criminal lawyer.

Which judge have you ever appeared before who is both strict and fair?

That’s has to be Justice Jessie Wanjiku Lesiit. You can’t go to her courtroom unprepared. She is tough, but very fair.

Even if you have substance, you will have to justify whatever you say in her court. Many lawyers dread her chambers. She understands the law and so you can’t get off with half-baked theories in her courtroom.

Recently, you acted for Miguna Miguna. What type of client is he?

Why would I discuss my client with the media? He is a good client to have. He is a gentleman. He takes advice, but sometimes, he acts on what he believes is correct, a trait that is admirable.

He is a stickler for the law, and it’s very unfair how the government treated him. If the law was to be strictly followed, a lot of government big wigs who mistreated Miguna would be in jail.

If he comes back, he has a high chance of becoming the deputy Governor.

 

 

 

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Sde.co.ke


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