Former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero has threatened to sue the Standard newspaper over a story linking him to an alleged Ksh 7.7 billion scandal at City Hall. According to the story, Kidero and nine officials in his administration are being probed afresh over suspected embezzlement of funds from the county’s coffers through large withdrawals using multiple accounts while serving as governor of Nairobi.
Through Prof Tom Ojienda & Associates, the former governor says the July 9 story and prominent use of his photo was defamatory and is demanding that the media house apologises within seven days failure to which he will move to court.
Ojienda avers that the story, among other things, gave the impression that Kidero has been conclusively investigated, prosecuted and found guilty of massive theft of county funds and that he is corrupt, white-collar criminal and a scheming conspirator who conspired with unnamed persons to defraud the county government of all the revenue it collected.
“That more appalling is the fact that there is no relationship whatsoever between your preposterous conspicuous headline of the alleged pre-determined theft by our client at page 1 of the newspaper and the entire article as written at page 4 of your defamatory article.
“That the entire article and/or story at page 4 talks of nothing but alleged transfers made by the county. Not a single alleged money transfer is linked to our client. It is evident that you had no idea whatsoever of what you were writing about but were on a rumour mongering spree with the sole intention of making money through writing a ‘captivating story’!” the demand letter reads in part.
Kidero accuses the Standard of being obsessed with defaming him, noting that the newspaper wrote another similar story the next day.
He says the stories have have adversely damaged his reputation and character both socially and at work.
“It is crystal clear that this was but a puppeteer move calculated by yourselves to embarrass our client, throw him in bad light amidst his family, political supporters and business associates and to solely get commercial advantage by airing a ‘juicy’ story,” the demand letter adds.
Ojienda says the Standard reporter who wrote the story never cared to conduct independent investigations before filing it.
He adds that the former governor was restricted by the Constitution and the law from dealing with finances at City Hall.
Incidentally, the Nation wrote a similar story but based on Kidero’s denial. The former governor owns Star Newspapers as he sits in the board of Radio Africa Ltd as chairman and is the majority shareholder of Nairobi Star Publications Limited.
That means the Star cannot run a negative story on him while he has a rapport with Nation Media Group (NMG) bigwigs having worked there as Managing Director before exiting to head Mumias Sugar.