MEDIA HOUSES REBUFF KIDERO GAGGING PLEA.

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ojieda-kidero case 1
Standard Media Group Lawyers Patrick Lutta and Professor Tom Ojienda for Nairobi governor Evans Kidero leaving Milimani law courts after hearing the application seeking to bar the two media houses from publishing stories concerning Mumias Sugar Company financial.
BY SAM ALFAN.
Two mainstream 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 Nairobi High Court judge Joseph Mabeya, that the case would curtail the freedom of the press.
Lawyers Patrick Lutta for the Standard and San Mohamed for the Nation said the KPMG report was obtained from Parliament indicating that it was in the public domain for Kenyans consumption.
Making their submissions, the two lawyers said the suit seeking to bar the two media houses from publishing stories concerning Mumias Sugar Company financial would be malicious as they only acted as a conveyor belt.
“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.
In March, 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 Professer 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 July 17 whether to gag the media from publishing stories concerning Mumias Sugar Company financial.

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