, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 11 – Another Newspaper journalist accused of publishing what the government claims is sensational information about expenditures at the Interior Ministry was summoned record a statement, but turned away at the last minute.
Alphonse Shiundu of the Standard Group presented himself at the CID headquarters on Kiambu Road Wednesday afternoon, accompanied by a team of lawyers led by Senator James Orengo but was told to go back.
A CID officer involved in the matter told Capital FM News that it was part of an investigation launched Tuesday, following a directive by Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, and which led to the arrest of Nation Parliamentary Editor John Ngirachu who was later released.
Despite having called Shiundu several times requesting him to record a statement, the officers declined to interrogate him saying they had closed the investigations and his evidence was “not needed.”
Also being sought by the police was the Star Newspaper Parliamentary Reporter James Mbaka.
In an interview with NTV after his release, Ngirachu denied allegations by the Interior Cabinet Secretary that the information contained in his story was classified.
“We are parliamentary journalists and we know that there are certain meetings that are held in-camera and we respect that. We have never defied orders to step out of a meeting,” he said.
He stated that he had recorded a statement of what transpired that day further urging the interior Cabinet Secretary to ‘refresh’ his memory over the chronology of events.
“I do not regret because it was not an arrest as far as I am concerned; it was request for the reporter to go and record a statement over where he got the information from,” CS Joseph Nkaissery said.
He quipped that Ngirachu should have been more tactical in responding to a call to meet someone he did not know insisting that it was the course of the law.
The arrest and intimidation of journalists sparked condemnation from across the political divide, with CORD leader Raila Odinga saying Jubilee was taking Kenya back to the dark old days.
The Editors Guild and the Kenya Parliamentary Journalists Association also stood in solidarity with the journalists and called on the CS to respect the right of the media to inform the public.
The parliamentary journalists were targeted for publishing a story that exposed how the Interior Ministry spent Sh3.8 billion in a day in unsubstantiated purchases as highlighted by the Auditor General.