BY SAM ALFAN
Two media houses on Wednesday said the suit filed by Nairobi governor Evans Kidero to gag them should be dismissed.
The Standard and the Nation lawyers told High Court judge Joseph Nyamweya at Milimani, Nairobi, that the case was filed in the wrong court.
Through their Lawyers Patrick Lutta and San Mohamed for the Standard and the Nation respectively said the case should have been filed in the constitutional court and not a civil one as Kidero had claimed that his rights had been infringed on.
Making their submissions, the two lawyers said the suit seeking to bar the two media houses from publishing stories concerning Mumias Sugar Company financial woes will infringe on the two media houses constitutional rights.
“The alleged KPMG defamatory materials complained of are extracts of documents in the public domain. The plaintiff’s private interests do not outweigh the public interest,” lawyer Lutta said.
Lutta said it will be a great disservice to the Kenyan public if the allegations against the company are not published since the public and the governments who are shareholders have a stake in it.
“Kenyans who are shareholders has a stake in the state of affairs of Mumias with the largest shareholder being the government,” Lutta said.
On Tuesday last week, Kidero sued the two media houses for linking him with the financial woes of the company.
In the suit, Kidero defended his nine-year tenure at the helm of Mumias, saying he is not to blame for the current troubles facing the company.
Kidero’s lawyer Tom Ojienda said the forensic audit by KPMG showing massive losses at the company was carried out after Kidero had left the company and did not cover the years he was there.
“The stories were premised on an unconcluded draft report dated December 18, 2014, which had a disclaimer clause that it was not for public use since they knew they had not given a chance to the people they mention to defend themselves,” Ojienda said.
In his affidavit, Kidero sought to stop journalists from linking him with the company problems, saying he joined the company in October 2003 when it had been run down.
“I am aware that when I joined MSC, I found a rundown company that was on the verge of collapse as in the previous financial year, it had made a loss of Sh244 million. I turned it around into making profits throughout the time I was there,” he said.
Kidero said before he left the company in 2012, all the accounts were audited and he was given a clean bill of health.
The ruling will be delivered on 27.