City tycoon sues Sonko for slander during JKLive show
The ongoing row between Nairobi governor Mike Sonko, and tycoon Mike Maina, has landed in court with the businessman accusing a media house and the city boss of defaming him during a live show.
Mr Sonko has been listed as a “proposed third party” in the suit in which Mr Maina has already obtained an injunction from Justice Cecilia Githua barring Royal Media Services from publishing any defamatory information about him until May 20, when the matter will be heard.
The case has been filed by Mr Maina and his two companies — Marble Arch Hotel and Muthithi Investment.
NYAMA VILLA DEMOLITION
Mr Maina allegedly had a run-in with Mr Sonko following the demolition of Nyama Villa estate in Kayole, where the investor planned to build a multimillion shilling project.
The defendants are Royal Media Services (RMS) and Jeff Koinange.
In a twist of events, RMS and Mr Koinange said the person who should take legal liability and responsibility, if any, is the governor. The co-defendants argue that the presenter placed a disclaimer on the show and also distanced himself from the alleged defamatory remarks.
The plaintiffs, through lawyer Njenga Njehia, said that Mr Sonko, during a TV interview on Mr Koinange’s JKLive show on January 13, defamed them by branding them as thieves, land grabbers and persons of questionable integrity by claiming that the hotel stands on county property.
“As a consequence of this (interview), the plaintiffs have been brought to public hatred, pillory, ridicule, contempt, odium and will be disgraced, humiliated, subjected to untold embarrassment and ostracised,” reads the suit in part.
They have faulted the defendants for granting the governor the platform and opportunity to defame the plaintiffs through their media channels with total disregard to the reputational damage.
The second defendant, Mr Maina’s affidavit reads, even acknowledged that the governor’s statements were defamatory, “but went ahead to give him the airtime to spew more unsubstantiated verbiage against the persona, character and reputation of the plaintiffs”.
But Mr Koinange and his employer have defended themselves, saying, the programme was aired in good faith and without malice, arguing that it was “on account of matters of immense public interest and is privileged.
They argue that they tried to control the governor, which was challenging, since it was a live programme that’s “practically impossible to control, limit and/or edit out that which is said by a guest of the live show” and therefore it’s the governor who should be liable.
They also said that Mr Koinange issued a disclaimer at the beginning, during and at the end of the show, saying, the views expressed were the guest’s and not his or of RMS.
“If fact, the second defendant (Koinange) first defendant (Royal Media) and himself systematically, formally and expressly [distanced themselves] from the contents of the statements of the Hon Governor Mike Sonko … Therefore, the party to bear the legal liability and responsibility if any as a result of the JKLive show aired on January 23, 2019, is in fact the Hon Governor Mike Sonko,” reads the defendant’s response in part.