Letter to the Kenyan Law Society

Posted on 02. Apr, 2010 by in an appeal for help

Below is a letter sent to both the Kenyan Law Society and theAdvocates Complaints Commission Concerning the theft of defence funds by supposed Lawyer Tom Okemwa

Private & Confidential
The Disciplinary Committee,
Law Society of Kenya,
Ole Dume Road,
Off Argwings Kodhek Road,
Lavington, Nairobi.
Monday August 10th 2009

Dear Sirs,

I write this letter with great dissatisfaction and much regret suffered at the hands of my supposed lawyer Mr Tom Okemwa. Having been charged with assault on June 12th 2008, I and defendant Judy Lubulwa appeared at Kiberacourt where we were approached by Mr Okemwa prior to the hearing
commencement. Mr Okemwa had been requested by Mr Daniel Orenge another lawyer and an acquaintance of Ms Lubulwa to represent us both during the hearing. In the first instance Mr Okemwa made it clear to both me and Ms Lubulwa that he was appearing at the 12th June hearing free of charge and his intention was to apply to the court for our bail. Unfortunately we did not get bail and the case was adjourned until the following Monday 15th June and both I and Ms Lubulwa were retained in custody.

On Monday 15th June we returned to Kibera court (CR.2451 OF 2009) and Mr Okemwa represented Ms Lubulwa and me during the brief hearing which was then again adjourned until the following day. It was at this time whilst we waited to be sent back to the police station; Mr Okemwa made requests for payment to secure bail bond and his fee. Contact had already been established with my foster parents in Australia and family members in London UK, but at this time Mr Okemwa had began to focus on establishing payment to resolve matters involving our case or so he led us to believe. On the same evening both I and Ms Lubulwa were sent to remand and not back to police custody, due to isolation from each other and outside family communication we both lost complete contact with the outside world, although a brief visit to court on June 16th saw the magistrate allow us bail bond.
Mr Okemwa had agreed prior to receiving monies from Mrs Norma Kirkland and others, to provide regular progress and update reports via phone and email. He did neither in fact once in remand both I and Ms Lubulwa had no contact at all with Mr Okemwa.

Our lawyer Mr Tom Okemwa was requested by our family members to visit us and he was paid to not only advise us but to assist in a change of clothing and matters of personal hygiene (especially for Ms Lubulwa) Mr Okemwa did nothing at all, he claimed he had visited us both but this never took place ever. As the days passed I became increasingly concerned even a two hour interview and visit from the British High Commission did nothing to abate concern so I asked them to contact Mr Okemwa, to ask him to respond to requests from us all to visit us both and secure bail. I now know Mr Okemwa received a number of calls from Joan Kimondo (Consular Assistant) at the British High Commission and several calls from Mrs Norma Kirkland in Australia.

After almost 18 days in The Industrial Area Men’s Prison and countless calls to Mr Okemwa (including the ones I managed to make from inside!) I was finally released into Mr Tom Okemwas custody. I was taken to the BHC for another interview and then taken back to my previous lodgings by Mr Okemwa. During this journey I repeatedly asked Mr Okemwa whether it was safe for me to return to the area of the altercation and he repeatedly answered that it was. Mr Okemwa dropped me off, promising to meet with me the next day to review all matters of our case including Ms Lubulwa’s release (a chartered taxi cab.) I never saw or spoke with him again.

Over a three-four day period I managed to communicate with Norma Kirkland and other Family members who had sent large amounts of money to Mr Tom Okemwa. It became clear that the money he had received had not been appropriate or necessary and it became clear also that he had refused to even apply for my bail until he received a further £2,500 from Norma Kirkland. He had failed to keep any of the verbal agreements he had made and had used the fear of loss and deception to acquire almost £5000 and left Ms Judy Lubulwa in custody although for days he had the papers and finance required to secure her bail! From the day I last saw Mr Okemwa he has avoided my calls, the BHC and Norma Kirkland’s also. He has never attempted to refund outstanding monies or provide any type of bill or comments.

We now believe that the persistent calls from the British High Commission and Norma Kirkland, put pressure on Mr Okemwa to actually use some of the £4000+ he had been sent to secure my bail! Although the bail bond had been originally set at 100,000 KHS each, Mr Okemwa had been sent more than enough money to not only pay both bail amounts but also substantial fee’s which he had began to demand after our transfer to remand. Mr Okemwa failed to update anyone at anytime including his clients and neglected to mention that bail bond had been reduced to 30,000 KHS!

Mr Orenge whose office Mr. Okemwa often worked from has also tried to contact him to seek an explanation for his behaviour and unethical conduct. After nearly four more weeks and over 50,000 KHS I myself finally assisted with Ms Lubulwa’s release although I had received various death threats and having had to leave the area. I later found out by the lady who provided my lodgings that she had warned Mr Okemwa more than once and in the company of BHC officials it would be unsafe to return me to the same area where the incident took place!

To date I am homeless and without any financial support because my family have now no finance left to assist me. My supposed Kenyan Lawyer Mr Tom Okemwa stole huge amounts of money by clear deception, which he had no morale or legal right to. He has denied me a decent legal defence in Kenya as I can no longer afford to even eat or sustain rent let alone hire and pay another lawyer!
I therefore humbly request as a matter of urgency, Mr Okemwa is brought to answer for his conduct and monies that he cannot justify retaining are returned to myself so that we may seek a morale and ethical lawyer. Please contact me for any additional information

Yours Sincerely,

Mr D. Reid

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