NAIROBI, September 3 – Former Internal Security Minister Chris Murungaru has asked the High Court to allow him to issue former Governance and Ethics Permanent Secretary John Githongo with summons through the British media.
Dr Murungaru wants Githongo to defend himself in a defamation case in which the former Kieni MP is seeking redress for being linked to the multi-billion shilling Anglo Leasing scandal.
He argues that the former PS – who is a Senior Associate Member of St Antony’s College in Oxford – has deliberately evaded service. He says since Britain is a commonwealth country, the Kenyan constitution is applicable to him.
Dr Murungaru wants the court to allow him to serve one-time executive director of Transparency International (Kenya chapter) through The Times of London and Guardian Newspaper in the UK, plus two Kenyan dailies.
He also wants the court to order Githongo to file his defence within 30 days from the date of the last publication.
The former minister claims that Githongo published a report depicting him as corrupt and lacking integrity and honesty.
Dr Murungaru’s latest application has been given priority which means it will be serialised and listed on the court’s cause list for hearing.
In the suit papers, he argues that Githongo recently hurriedly left the country after returning from a three-year exile, after a court official attempted to serve him with summons.
“The attempts were made at PCS plaza on August 20 and at Strathmore University on August 22 as well as a residence in Karen where the defendant’s mother allegedly resides and where the defendant was reasonably believed to be present at some stage of his stay in Kenya,” Dr Murungaru states in the court papers.
The latest development comes barely two days after Githongo denied having evaded the said service. On Monday, he described the contents of a statement issued by Dr Murungaru last Friday as ‘palpable nonsense’.
The former Permanent Secretary stated: “It has been suggested that I have refused to be served summons by a former minister. This is palpable nonsense. My lawyers have been instructed to act in my absence, and are both able and ready to receive any legal requests. So far, none has been forthcoming.”
He stressed that he had recently visited the country, on the express invitation of Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Justice Minister Martha Karua to ‘undertake a number of planned engagements’.
A week ago, Dr Murungaru sent a statement to newsrooms claiming that Githongo was evading service, following a defamation suit he had filed against the former PS in 2006.