The High Court in Nairobi on Thursday ordered the Nation Media Group (NMG) to pull down an investigative report dubbed #covid-19millionaires# from all its social media platforms pending the hearing and determination of a case filed by one of the companies adversely mentioned in the case.
#covid-19millionaires#, an investigative piece by Dennis Okari was broadcasted on August 16 and published on the media stable’s various platforms thereafter exposed how billions meant to help the country fight COVID-19 were stolen through dubious tendering processes orchestrated by cartels boasting of connections with the top brass at the Ministry of Health (MoH).
Megascope Limited, a health company owned by Richard Ngatia, a city businessman and a close friend and campaign contributor of President Uhuru Kenyatta, has sued NMG for the investigative report which indicated that Megascope was one of the companies appointed by the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) to clear medical supplies donated by Chinese billionaire Jac Ma after they arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
The report exposed how the Jack Ma COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donations were stolen immediately the consignment arrived in Kenya. KEMSA has since refuted the claims.
High Court judge Joseph Sergon directed that the case be mentioned on October 22.
This is just one of the many times that the Judiciary has appeared to be curtailing freedom of the press through court orders especially in issues that are of national interest such as this one.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in his last address to the nation citing public interest in the matter ordered the relevant agencies to probe and conclude investigations into the matter within 21 days.
In his first interview after the exposé was broadcasted, Ngatia faulted NTV for basing its piece on National Action Against Corruption Director Gordwins Agutu’s account who was the main source interviewed for the story.
Ngatia dismissed Agutu as “untrustworthy” and speculated that the investigative piece had been motivated by business rivalry.
He stated that the investigative piece failed to provide proof that Megascope stole Covid-19 kits donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma.
“Its very bad how NTV associated with the fellow to destroy people’s businesses. The matter is already in court and you’ll come to know about it soon,” Ngatia said.
In his defense, however, Agutu said he stood by his account in the report adding that the documents of proof Ngatia claimed were missing were being held by NTV