Mbarire slaps PLO with defamation suit

August 24, 2011 3:39 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 24 – Tourism Assistant Minister Cecily Mbarire has sued the director of the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission for defamation over his accusations that she and her husband attempted to bribe him.

In the suit filed at the High Court Ms Mbarire has dismissed the accusations that they tried to bribe Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) Director Prof PLO Lumumba as “false, untrue, (and) malicious.”

Ms Mbarire said she had been “seriously injured in her character and reputation as a person, family member, Member of Parliament, assistant minister and politician and (had) been brought into public scandal, odium and contempt.”

She is seeking compensatory and exemplary damages and an injunction against Prof Lumumba.

Ms Mbarire is further accusing Prof Lumumba of using his position to solicit support for his private foundation contrary to the Public Ethics Act.

The assistant minister argues Prof Lumumba of addressing a press conference on Monday with the sole object of obtaining “the widest possible broadcast yet he was aware that no investigations towards the alleged bribery had been commenced.”

“The plaintiff claims an injunction to restrain the defendants from further publishing the said or similar libel upon the plaintiff,” Ms Mbarire said in the suit papers.

“A withdrawal by way of broadcast and publication to all news outlets invited to the press conference.”

Ms Mbarire on Tuesday denied the allegations by Prof Lumumba and tabled photographs and an invitation card that Prof Lumumba had sent them to attend a fundraising in Bondo where her husband Dennis Apaa donated a cheque of Sh100,000 drawn in the name of Broad Vision Utilities Ltd.

The company and Mr Apaa are under investigation by the KACC over a scandal at the Water Ministry.

“The fact of the matter is that PLO did invite us to a fundraising of PLO Lumumba Foundation and Lucy Onono Memorial Foundation which was held in Bondo on August 6, and since I was unable to attend, my husband attended and gave out a cheque of Sh100,000,” Ms Mbarire told a press conference at Parliament Buildings, a day after Prof Lumumba accused the couple of having attempted to bribe him.

Prof Lumumba had mentioned inviting the couple to the fundraiser.  He said Mr Apaa had issued the cheque, but that it was returned because it “was not properly addressed.”

“When my husband gave out a cheque, PLO later called him and asked him to replace it with cash because the company in which it was drawn was under active investigation by KACC, and my husband did deliver the money to his office on August 10 and was given the cheque back. Why didn’t he arrest him then, if the issue of bribery was there?” Ms Mbarire had posed.

When Prof Lumumba made the sensational allegations on Monday morning, he did not tell journalists if Mr Apaa ever visited his office to replace the cheque with cash.

Ms Mbarire told journalists on Tuesday that she was the one who sought Monday’s appointment to meet Prof Lumumba for an update of the status of their investigation after learning that the file on her husband’s company had been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

On Monday, Prof Lumumba told journalists he believes the couple had failed to turn up in his office “because they were probably tipped off that I had organised a sting operation to arrest them because they were coming to bribe me.”

The KACC Director said all along he had been enticing them even to fundraising functions because he knew their intentions and Monday morning’s meeting was to be the climax of the whole saga.


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