Investors behind the multi-billion Tatu City mixed-use real estate project have sensationally implicated Nation Media Group editors in an extortion racket they believe has been weaved by disgruntled shareholders.
Reacting to an article published today, 8th June 2018, in the Business Daily, Tatu City claimed Nation Media editors had had their palms greased to drive the agenda of a splinter group in the investment led by one Stephen Mwagiru and Simon Gicharu, the chairman and founder of Mt Kenya University who enjoys good relations with a number of journalists across the media industry.
In the article, written by Eric Wainaina, Business Daily reported that the real estate housing project based in Thika had run into fresh trouble after a group of families in Githunguri, Kiambu laid claim to the land.
The report said the petitioners, who claimed to be shareholders in two companies that own 13,600 acres, part of which was allocated to Tatu City, held a demonstration at Kwa Maiko Trading Centre, saying they bought shares from the two companies, Tatu City Ltd and Kofinaf Company Ltd in 2007 for Sh200 each.
But in a statement, Tatu discredited the assertion, arguing that the said demonstration had failed to take after police intervened. Tatu City said the demonstrators later admitted being sponsored, saying they had no idea what the controversy was all about.
The company reacted angrily. “Tatu City condemns Nation Media Group and its corrupt journalists and editors at Business Daily and Daily Nation, which have published a false and malicious story that was paid for by Stephen Mwagiru and Simon Gicharu as part of a campaign to extort the owners of Tatu City,” the statement said.
The statement said Mwagiru has never invested a single shilling in Tatu City, saying he is a well-known conman. Gicharu, it added, appears to have fallen under his spell. “Business Daily and Daily Nation, as the peddler of fake news, are aiding and abetting their crimes,” it said. “Shame on Nation Media Group’s editors for choosing cash-in-hand over integrity, ignoring their right to reply policy by never verifying today’s story with Tatu City before secretly rushing it to print.”
Tatu City sought to put the record straight. and here below is part of the statement:
“For journalists and editors with integrity, here is the real story:
On 7 June, at midday, Kiambu County Police stopped a group of about 10 individuals gathered near Kwa Maiko. When questioned about their intentions, the group said that they had been given a banner and paid to file a petition against Tatu City. Upon interrogation, they said they had never been near Tatu City or spoken to anyone at the development. The group dispersed peacefully, having carried out their work for Mwagiru and Gicharu.
In 2007, the company Tatu City Limited did not exist, so it’s unlikely the group bought anything, as the petition and Nation Media publications allege.
We do not doubt that Mwagiru and Gicharu’s failing campaign to extort Tatu City’s owners will resort to more attempts to pay editors and journalists to publish fake news. Therefore, we ask responsible media to check the facts – and check with Tatu City before publishing their falsehood. Your reputation is at stake.