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Lawyer detained in Mandera for allegedly stealing petition file

A lawyer in Mandera has found himself in the wrong side of the law when he got detained on suspicion of stealing a case file.

The lawyer was arrested at the Mandera Airstrip as he was about to board a plane to Nairobi.

According to Mandera Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Areri, parts of an election petition were reported missing by a court clerk.

“We had proceedings on Tuesday and I had to convey a verdict on whether the petition should be heard or invalidated only for parts of the file to go missing hours later,” said Mr Areri.

The magistrate said that there were only five people in court when the petition was being heard and that the only suspects were the three advocates who were in attendance.

“The clerk did not have the document neither was it in my filing cabinet, forcing us to [go after] the advocates who were headed to the airstrip in the morning,” he said.

The court clerk was able to recognize the three advocates at the airstrip and Mr Areri said the lost document was found on one of them.

“These documents were found inside the advocate’s bag at the airstrip,” he said.

The magistrate later handed over the file to the registry for typing and forwarding of the proceedings to the Judiciary’s head office in Nairobi.

“One of the respondents in the petition had applied for the petition to be thrown out and I was to get ready a verdict on that only for parts of the file to vanish. This could have crippled the whole case,” said Mr Areri.

“I could not be able to write a verdict without the part that was absent which is the key body of the petition,” he said.

Mr Areri could not give details on how the advocate got access to the petition striking out the key component.

“The police are working on finding out how the advocate got hold of the part that was found in his bag at the airstrip,” he said.

The advocate, according to Mr Areri, had shown signs of unprofessionalism early in the day.

“He had meddled with proceedings of an early morning petition which he was not party to and I had been forced to kick him out,” said Mr Areri.

Mandera County Commissioner Fredrick Shisia inveterated the arrest, adding that investigations were ongoing.

“We have the advocate in police custody being investigated for a crime we are yet to prove,” he said.


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