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Lawmaker Ali awarded Sh1 million in defamation case

Nyali lawmaker Mohammed Ali has won a defamation case against the Star newspaper and awarded Sh1 million.

A Nairobi court has further ruled that the publication caters for the cost of the lawsuit and interest at court rates from the date it was filled until payment in full.

Ali, a former journalist, moved to court after the newspaper published a story claiming he’d fired three employees after he was involved in the embezzlement of money in the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) kitty.

In her ruling, Milimani Magistrate S. Gitonga found that the publication had misrepresented the facts in a story which was carried on their March 10, 2018, edition, which later issued a correction and also sought clarification from the MP but ordered them to pay for the damages caused by the initial publication.

“Owing to the fact that the plaintiff was afforded a right of reply and a clarification was published on 11th and 12th May 2019, which sought to make clarifications and directly apologize to the plaintiff, and taking into consideration the provisions under Section 16 A of the Defamation Act Cap 36 of the Laws of Kenya, I award the plaintiff a sum of Sh1,000,000.00 as general damages for the tort of defamation,” the judgment read in part.

The publication as well as the author of the article denied malicious intent in the publication of the article, claiming that the words were not meant to be understood in a “defamatory manner either in their natural and ordinary meaning or by innuendo”.

The Nyali MP was happy with the ruling and advised young upcoming journalists to deal with the facts ‘like we did’.

“I have been awarded Sh1 million over a publication that was carried by the star in which the newspaper alleged that I had been caught in the embezzlement of CDF funds. The story was found to have been defamatory,” he said.

The former investigative reporter through McKay Advocates firm the publication through its writer Ernest Cornel tainted his reputation by publishing an article indicating he is part of a group embezzling CDF.

The legislator accused the newspaper of refusing to get his side of the story hence denying him the right to a fair hearing, reiterating he was available but was not reached by the writer.