Cyprian Is Nyakundi

This Man Cliff Ombeta


His mobile number appears to be on the speed dial whenever the rich and the famous run afoul with the law.

If it’s not suspected drug dealers, lawyer Cliff Marube Ombeta will be the first in the line of defence for suspects in high-profile murderers and scandals.

You cannot miss him in his meticulous suits, arguing with crime busters to release his clients. A section of lawyers claims Mr Ombeta only gets cases at the first stage and leaves everything to a lawyer appointed by the family as a lead counsel.

For example, in the case against the Akasha family, lawyer Kirathe Wandugi was the lead counsel although it was Ombeta who was seen with the family first when the matter came up.

The same was the case of Migori Governor Okoth Obado. On September 8 as a team of doctors were preparing a postmortem on Sharon Otieno’s body, Ombeta showed up and claimed to represent the governor who he said had been mentioned ‘adversely.’ But its Justice (rtd) Nicholas Ombija leading his defence.

This also happened in the case of 12 Kenyans arrested in Mozambique and flown to Tanzania, where Don Deya acted as lead counsel.

The 35-year-old is also remembered for representing suspects linked to the Sh1.3 billion heroine seized by police officers in Mombasa. Other cases include that against Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, and some of the accused persons in the National Youth Service case.

In 2016, he stirred controversy among some of his learned friends when he defied the Law Society of Kenya resolution, and rose to defend suspects in the murder of lawyer Willy Kimani

“Many lawyers refused to talk to me and christened me Judas Ombeta Iscariot, saying I had been paid a few pieces of silver to betray our murdered colleague. I received over 30,000 abusive messages but for me, it was a question of standing by my oath to represent all without discrimination,” he says.

So why him among about 15,000 lawyers?

Ombeta brushes accusations that he is an ambulance chaser out to make quick buck from desperate litigants, arguing that the clients go looking for him as he does not need any introduction owing to his track record.

He says he doesn’t find difficulty managing his diary because his assistants help him reach out to the clients, adding that the courts have also been locating his matters on days he is not engaged with other cases.

The lawyer also dismisses claims by some of his colleagues that he colludes with top police officers to get clients or use the social media to do so, saying that it is those in need of legal services that look for him.

Ombeta claims that although many of his colleagues fear getting into the muddy waters of representing controversial suspected criminals because of their reputation, for him he views them as clients in dire need of legal assistance.

“I do not look at a suspect as a bad person and always say those accusing them should bring the evidence for us to test in court. I tested the water of being a criminal lawyer and found that it is something that I can handle,” he says.

Contrary to belief that he goes for the big criminal cases because of the lure of money, Ombeta stated that money has never been a motivation and when he represents a client he doesn’t take money as a promise to secure their freedom.

The lawyer disclosed that, he once received death threats for representing police officer Titus Ngamau alias Katitu who was sentenced to 15 years in jail for killing a Githurai resident. Away from his busy schedule in court, Ombeta is a party animal.

He likes dancing, going to the gym, boxing and running marathons.

via Standard Media for

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