The date is 26 November 2014, the day the Cabinet moratorium against adoption of Kenyan children by foreigners was issued and the adoption sector players and the international community made its reactions known.
There is a great sigh of relief by players with the right intentions and those with the children’s best interest at heart, there is an immediate plot by members of the trafficking cartel to frustrate government efforts to end the vice.
Some diplomatic missions are making further consultations regarding the moratorium, many curious “if it was in order for their citizens to travel with a Kenyan child on guardianship orders during the moratorium”. Yet, there are a few diplomatic missions were not happy because it affected their citizens.
It is acceptable to have non-state and other actors oppose the moratorium but it was shocking that certain individuals at the directorate of children services defied the cabinet directive.
In this article, we will also reveal the names of law firms, adoption societies and charitable children’s institutions mentioned in the report by the expert committee on implementation of the cabinet moratorium on adoption of Kenyan children by foreigners.
Court cases to stop moratorium
The director of children services, following a hurriedly-convened meeting with adoption societies to discuss, insists inter-country cases would proceed and goes ahead to issue letters authorizing their processing.
The conspiracy by the child trafficking cartels saw them move to court to stop the implementation of the moratorium but in the end three court cases (Misc. application No. 235 of 2015, Constitutional Petition No. 289 of 2015 and JR Cause No. 194 of 2015) filed against government and the expert committee were unsuccessful.
“Various stakeholders […] felt that the adoption process was being handled properly and Kenya had good laws to protect children and therefore the Moratorium was not justified,” the report states in part.
The cases had been filed by Muriungi & Co. Advocates and Njoroge & Katisya Advocates on behalf of Little Angels Network and Kenya Children’s Home.
Curiously, these same law firms were involved all the seven inter-country cases granted orders in one day at the Mombasa High Court while the moratorium was in force.
Consistent trend, existing close network
Whether there is a deliberate hand or collusion in the illicit trade is subject to interpretation depending on one’s view point but the expert report draws a correlation between the adoption societies, CCIs and law firms.
However, there seems to be a consistent trend that alludes to the existence of a close network.
Remember the number of 206 cases that had been reviewed by the expert committee at the time of compiling their report? Here is the breakdown of the adoption societies involved and the number of applications.
Little Angels Network and Kenya Children’s Home, who had gone to court to challenge the moratorium, are the highest beneficiaries of foreign adoptions with 118 and 65 cases; which is 88% of the applications that were eventually illegally processed and the children taken abroad.
Kenyans to Kenyans Peace Initiative had 11 cases at the time, while Change Trust and Child Welfare Society of Kenya had none.
Same law firms, different CCIs
Interestingly, although without indicting them or casting aspersions on their integrity, there are seven law firms representing the adoption societies involved in majority of the 206 cases.
Apart from Muriungi & Co. Advocates and Njoroge & Katisya Advocates, Mwaura & Kiguatha, Musyimi & Co and Ochieng Ogutu & Co were the other law firms involved at the time. Others are Christine Kipsang Advocates and R.W Mbanya & Co Advocates.
Adoption cases in Malindi
Majority of the applications for guardianship and custody in Malindi were from Our Father Centre Children’s Home and Rising Sun Children’s Home; all handled by the same law firms – Michira Messah & Company Advocates and the Commissioner of Oaths named Patrick Shujaa Wara.
“All the cases lacked crucial documents like doctor’s report in instances where they indicated that the child required medication in a foreign country. In addition, these cases had falsification of children’s important documents like children’s birth certificate and birth parents’ death certificates.”
While the argument of specialization on child adoption matters would suffice, the possibility of being a part of a cartel cannot be ignored.