Standard journalist Mwaniki Munuhe has been reinstated to his job after being cleared of allegations that he received Ksh10 million to cleanse the Ksh791 million National Youth Service (NYS) scandal in the media.
An affidavit filed in the High Court by businesswoman Josephine Kabura had claimed that former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Ann Waiguru asked her to hand over the money to Mr Muhuhe, who is the Standard’s weekend deputy news editor, and Star reporter Kamore Maina. According to her affidavit, they were to use the money to turn the tide of negative publicity the scam had attracted.
According to Ms Kabura, Ms Waiguru described the two as her “media gurus” and that she had worked closely with them since joining government.
However, a Standard investigation led by security chief Sam Koskei cleared Munuhe after it was established he was nowhere near Runda on the material day as claimed by Ms Kabura in her affidavit.
This was after mobile phone service provider Safaricom data indicated he was on his way from the Standard Group offices along Mombasa Road at the time he was alleged to have been at the strategy meeting convened by Ms Waiguru. His next stop after leaving office is shown as Dove Cage Hotel along Moktar Daddah Street.
“It is true; he is back to work. He is currently attending a meeting,” a colleague close to him said early today. Mr Munuhe could not be reached for comment as his cell phones were off.
Ms Waiguru had in a counter affidavit also denied giving the money to Munuhe, a former People Daily reporter, saying that though she had met the journalist in the course of her duties, she has never met him with Ms Kabura as alleged. Mr Munuhe, who also refuted the claims, threatened to sue Ms Kabura if she does not rescind them.
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Radio Africa Group, the publishers of the Star newspaper, are also said to have cleared Mr Kamore after establishing that the alleged windfall is not reflected in his financial transactions in his bank accounts.
When the claims first emerged, the paper had also issued a statement indicating Mr Kamore had lived true to his journalistic call while pursuing the NYS scandal story and that there had been no indication of being compromised.
The paper also reminded the public that it was the first to break the story after the Central Bank of Kenya raised the red flag over the huge transactions at NYS.
At the time, Mr Kamore also denied ever meeting Ms Waiguru or receiving any money from her. “I have never been to Anne Waiguru’s home and we have never met face to face,” he said. “If I stood before her today, she would not even be able to say who I am. I have also not received any money from Waiguru, Kabura or anyone else to kill or water down the NYS or any other story.”
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