The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has released a blow-by-blow account of how busted fake advocate Brian Mwenda Njagi was able to criminally access the LSK portal, identify an account with a name corresponding to his, tamper with the details, and upload his own photo in a bid to infiltrate Kenya’s legal profession.
According to LSK, an emergency meeting was convened from around 5 pm to 8 pm Wednesday evening to urgently investigate how Brian Mwenda was able to breach the LSK security and steal the identity of an actual lawyer.
The firm says that Brian Mwenda stole the identity of a lawyer with a name that is similar to his – Brian Mwenda Ntwiga – after the legitimate lawyer reached out to the Secretariat after realising that he could no longer log into the system.
On 28th September, after alerting the ICT personnel of his tribulations, they quickly noticed that the details in the system, particularly his email address, did not belong to him thus why he could not access his Membership portal.
“On the 5th Day of August 2022, Brian Mwenda Ntwiga was admitted to the Bar and his correct email address was captured and an Account opened for him in the Advocates portal,” the statement said.
“We reached out to Advocate Brian Mwenda Ntwiga who confirmed that he had not applied for a practicing certificate since his admission, reason being that he had been working at the Office of the Attorney General and did not require a Practising Certificate,” it continued.
“It was only until sometime in September 2023 when he attempted to login into the system and activate his profile with the intention of applying for his Practising Certificate that he realized he could not access his LSK Portal.”
LSK further says that an internal investigation was commissioned to determine how the email address could have been changed, breaching protocols.
“The preliminary findings indicate that the masquerader applied the use of a common international fraud scheme known as Business Email Compromise (BEC) where a criminal in this case Brian Mwenda identified a genuine advocate status as being inactive, made contact to the secretariat to make an application for payment of his PC but which he couldn’t because his email credentials are incorrect,” the statement revealed.
LSK went on to divulge that once Brian Mwenda was allowed access into the portal, he changed his profile picture, applied and paid for his practising certificate.
“Upon being allowed access to the account, he took control of the portal and changed his profile picture, the workplace and applied and paid for the practicing certificate. However, his application was not processed since he was required to provide documents including the certificate of business incorporation,” LSK said.
While reiterating that their portal was not compromised and that member’s data was safe and protected, LSK further said that they had invited the DCI to launch a manhunt for Brian Mwenda.
“We have invited the DCI to send their investigators to launch a massive manhunt and the immediate arrest of the masquerader, (Brian Mwenda) and all his accomplices. The Council of the Law Society recognizes that masqueraders pose a serious threat to the practice of law and is determined to take decisive action to deal with this issue,” they said.