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Court blocks BBC from publishing negative articles on Wetangula

Court blocks BBC from publishing negative articles on Wetangula/FILE

Court blocks BBC from publishing negative articles on Wetangula/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 23 – British Broadcasting Corporation has been restrained from televising or publishing a story linking Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula to bribery and corruption.

Justice Nicholas Ombija said that pending the hearing of the defamation suit against BBC, there should be no negative publication against the senator over allegation of bribery by the British American Tobacco Company.

The judge said the court has considered the application by senator and certified it as urgent and ought to be heard during the court’s vacation.

Justice Ombija directed that the main application be heard inter parties on January 7.

Wetangula filed a defamation suit against BBC accusing broadcasting organization of linking him with bribery allegations alleged to have occurred some three years ago.

The senator’s lawyer James Orengo told the court the allegations have been denied by former employee of BAT.

He told the vacation judge that the senator was defamed by BBC in its program known as Panorama, which portrayed him has having solicited the purchase of an airline ticket to London for his wife.

The programme, he said, revealed that the senator was corruptly involved in a corporate scandal in which BAT bribed him while he was serving as Minister for Trade during the retired President Daniel arap Moi government.

Orengo submitted that impugned story televised by BBC has continued to be in circulation through a multitude of electronic and print media to his prejudice.

He told the court that the article has been used as a basis of unjustified attacks against the senator by his political rivals and civil society.

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“It is difficult for the senator to perform his duties and functions under the cloud of defamatory story which is causing him stress, anxiety and embarrassment,” the court heard.

The lawyer argued that the report is false and malicious and cannot be true.

The news story and the Panorama program presented by Richard Bilton under the title ” The Secret Bribes Big Tobacco” alleged that in July 2012a person known as Julie Adelie Owino had requested for a purchase of a business class plane ticket to London for the use of the senator’s wife and he could be ” Hosted at Globe House”- BAT’s London Headquarters.

The court that allegation are false and unfounded.


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