NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 26 – A Form 4 student is among two people arrested for spreading fake news that Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi was critically ill after contracting COVID-19.
The two were arrested by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations who tracked them to their home in Ngeria, Uasin Gishu County.
“We have the two suspects in custody and they will be charged on Monday,” DCI director George Kinoti said.
The two are brothers, detectives said.
They said they had recovered a laptop and mobile phones from the two.
“These are the gadgets they used to generate and publish the false information,” one detective said.
On Friday, the Ministry of Interior came out to deny the reports that Matiangi was in ICU following viral reports on social media.
“To all members of the public, please disregard the fake news and misinformation being spread on various outlets that CS Matiangi is hospitalized. The claims are completely untrue,” the ministry tweeted.
Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna is so far the senior-most government official to publicly declare that he tested positive of the disease, and receiving treatment.
There are reports that at least two Cabinet Secretaries and a Principal Secretary are receiving treatment from the virus, but there has been no official confirmation from the government.
Head of Public Services Joseph Kinyua has warned all ministries and government departments to strictly observe regulations from the Ministry of Health, and reduce the number of staff in offices after several public servants tested positive leading to closures of some key offices.