He takes cases no lawyer wants to be associated with. Lawyer Cliff Ombeta has been described as a publicity hound whose love for the cameras is almost legendary; while others have referred to him as an ambulance chaser.
Disputing the claims in an interview on the Business Daily, the lawyer said: “I am not an ambulance chaser, it is just that the cases in which I am sometimes called to represent attract a lot of media attention when a man and wife are fighting the media does not care”.
Asked in a separate interview by Standard journalist Donald Odongo how he “pops up the moment a controversial case or client is reported”, the lawyer answered: “I have reached a point in my career where cases come to me. I don’t remember the last time I went looking for a case. All my cases come through referrals. I take complex criminal cases and win them, so naturally, my name is at the top of people’s minds whenever there is a tough case”.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
Ombeta separated from his wife due to irreconcilable differences but the two still talk and share custody of their children.
The criminal lawyer has two children who he loves dearly. His daughter, Nikita Ombeta, is 19 years old while his son is 17 years old (as of 2018). Nikita was a student at the prestigious Nairobi International School before joining the European Union University where she is pursuing Psychology and International Relations. Prior to this, Ombeta’s children wanted to be lawyers.
He was expelled from Jamhuri High School while he was in Form One and the same fate befell him when he was in Form Two at Highway Secondary School. He went to Kamusinga High School then completed his A levels at Koilel Secondary School. His inspiration to become a lawyer was inspired by Sidney Sheldon novel Angels.
Ombeta has proved that he is his own man who is not swayed by popular opinion or emotions. This can best be illustrated by his decision to represent three administration police officers who were accused of abduction and murder of human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri.
In solidarity with their murdered colleague, lawyers opted not to represent the trio but not for Ombeta. The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) had even called for a nationwide seven day boycott of court proceedings in protest of the killings and to push for a speedy trial of the suspects.
Ombeta went against his colleagues wishes and represented the trio. In his defense he said: “Article 50 is very clear that everyone has a right to representation. LSK had their lawyers, there was representation for the director of public prosecution, the civil society and even the families so why not for the suspects?”
He ranks Wandugi Kirathe and Jared Magolo among the best criminal lawyers in Kenya.
The criminal lawyer clients range from drug barons, to murderers, to terrorists and whoever else needs the best brains to wiggle out of a complex criminal case.
As you guessed, Ombeta represented the agents and owners of the ship that was impounded with heroin with a street value of Ksh1.3 billion. President Uhuru Kenyatta, miffed by the drug menace in the country, oversaw the destruction of the drug haul.
Ombeta went to represent the Akasha’s who were facing extradition to the US on drug trafficking offences. The lawyer won the first round but the Americans finally hounded them out of the country to face trial in the US.
He was among the lawyers who represented the twice deported Miguna Miguna. The lawyer put a successful spirited fight in the courts to have the lawyer re-admitted in the country. The Kenyan government, however, deported him to Canada claiming he wasn’t a Kenyan citizen. He is currently representing NYS Director General Richard Ndubai.
Clients he cannot represent
Interestingly, Ombeta does not take all cases. According to interviews on multiple national newspapers, the lawyer said he “abhors violence, whether physical or sexual against women”. He went on to say he cannot touch cases involving s3xu@l assault and rape cases.
Cliff Marube Ombeta started practicing in 1995 and is arguably one of the best and most visible criminal lawyers in Kenya. Here is a list of some of his landmark cases:
Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu case (we was then a Kabete MP)
Kes6.4 billion cocaine case
Akasha case-the two brothers were released on a Ksh30 million bond each.
The late Professor Arthur Obel murder case.
Inspector General of the Police
The lawyer turned politician had applied for the position of Inspector General of the police, but withdrew after learning that eligible candidates must have been career policemen. He told the Standard that he would have made a perfect IG as he knew the challenges police officers go through adding that his background in law would have been an added advantage. He told the publication:
“………I would have revolutionised the police force, although (the then IG, Joseph) Boinnet is doing a good job.”
Property Owned by Cliff Ombeta
His clients are well oiled and have no qualms parting with fat cheques for the services for his services. This is evidenced by his rides and expensive suits. The lawyer suits go for Ksh500,000 with his cheapest going for Ksh170,000. The lawyer claimed in a past interview that he cannot buy a Ksh30,000 suit.
Cars-Approximately 50 Million
The lawyer car of choice is a Mercedes Benz. He has four Mercedes Benz:
Mercedes S-Class 320
Mercedes SLK 200 convertible