Prof Tom Ojieda for Nairobi governor Evans Kidero Ann Nderu Ndungo for Kakamega senator Bonny Khalwale leaving Milimani law courts after high court dismissed application COFEK seeking to be enjoined in a case in which Kidero have sued Khalwale over linking him to the collapse Mumias sugar factory collapse on 30 July,2015.
BY SAM ALFAN.
The consumer lobby group has been locked out of defamation suit brought against senator Bonn Khalwale and Nairobi County Governor Evans Kidero.
Joseph Sergon dismissed the application by Cofek seeking to be enjoined as interested party to the defamation case on ground that the organization did not demonstrate the public interest in the matter.
“COFEK has demonstrated that it is supporting the Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale in this matter” said justice Sergon.
The judge said the matter between two leaders touches on public statements made by Khalwale linking Kidero to corruption at Mumias Sugar Company during his nine years tenure.
Justice Sergon said that the application by the organization as presented to the court by its lawyer Henry Kurauka lacked merits.
He said that the matter can be determined by the two parties who are before the court.The consumer federation body made the application to be enjoined on the matter through their lawyer Henry Kurauka claiming they had direct interest in respect of the outcome in the matter.
“Among other reasons, dictated by the fact that the proceedings under this matter have the real potential to reduce a matter of monumental public interest such as the collapse of the largest sugar company to a defamation suit between the two parties” said COFEK.
They argued that the outcome of the Court has the real potential to prejudice sugar consumers as well as overall public interest since the reducing the anti-corruption whistle-blowing to defamation, at the first instance, without substantively investigating the Plaintiff’s potential role in the collapse of Mumias Sugar Company, where he was a CEO for 9 years, is likely to affect the parallel investigations carried out by among others the audit firm KPMG East Africa, National Assembly and other competent agencies.
Two weeks ago,High court has issued orders restraining Kakamega senator Dr Bonn Khalwale from making defamatory statement against Nairobi County Governor Dr Evans Kidero touching financial scandal facing Mumia sugar company.
Justice Joseph Sergon said Khalwale should desist from making any defamatory statements concerning Kidero in relation to the management of Mumias Sugar Limited.
This is after the Nairobi governor moved to court through his lawyer Professor Tom Ojienda to over Khalwale remarks that linked him to the collapse of Mumias Company.
Through his lawyer Prof Tom Ojienda, Kidero claimed that Khalwale slandered his name by depicting him as corrupt, a swindler and a fraudster.
“On the fight of corruption I will support you, Mumias did not just die. You should pursue the criminals. The criminals who looted Mumias are led by their prefect governor Kidero, hold them accountable,” Khalwale told President Uhuru Kenyatta
Kidero said that Khalwale continues to engage in bad publicity, character assassination and incitement of public spite against him.
Kidero claimed that the word published by Khalwale were malicious, false and reckless and were only meant to injure his reputation and his standing among right thinking members of the society.
He said the defamatory words by Khalwale were likely to attract a public spite from the public particularly among the residents of Nairobi where he serves as the governor and also investors of Mumias Sugar Company Limited where he served as the Managing Director.
He said unless Khalwale was restrained by the court, he was apprehensive that his reputation will further irretrievable tainted and suffer irreparably.
The Senator had called for the arrest of Dr Kidero, alleging that he was among those behind the collapse of Mumias Sugar Company, where he worked as a managing director.
In a sworn affidavit Kidero stated that when he joined Mumias Sugar Company as the Managing Director, he found a rundown company that was on the verge of collapse.
He said that with dedication and support of board of directors and the Management team of the company, Mumias Sugar Company became a success story year out till the time he left the company.
Kidero said after demanding an apology letter from Khalwale he went further to defame him in a press conference.
“During the press Conference on June ne 26, the defendant deliberately failed, refused or neglected to inform the public that the said slanderous and libelous words were solely based on the unconcluded KPMG report dated on December 18, 2014.This notwithstanding, the
Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale has three days to apologise for calling Evans Kidero the “prefect of thieves” or be sued, the Nairobi governor has said.
Kidero said is a letter Khalwale faces a defamation suit if he fails to apologise for his use of “malicious, false’ and reckless” words to taint the governor’s name during a gathering in Mumias on Wednesday.
“We have instructions to seek other incidental remedies against you without further notice or reference to you at your own risk as to costs and attendant consequences,” read a letter to Khalwale from Kidero’s lawyer Tom Ojienda.
“Our client demands that you immediately and unconditionally prominently publish an apology to Kidero in at least two newspapers of national circulation, in the next three days”.
Defendant proceeded to make unqualified adverse allegations about what he perceived as indictments against me in my management of Mumias Sugar Company Limited,” stated Kidero in an affidavit.
Prof Ojienda had asked Khalwale to publish the apology in at least two newspapers of national circulation.
Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale responded to Kidero- “Someone is cheating you. You must be dreaming to expect an apology haa! I serve the interests of Kakamega County. It is your responsibility to clear your name from the KPMG report. Bring it on, I’m always ready,” he said on his twitter account
Kidero claims that Khalwale has continued to defame him even on his twitter account.
Justice Joseph Sergon certified the matter urgent and restrained Khalwale to utter more words against Kidero.
The case will be heard tomorrow for further orders over the matter.