Citizen TV’s celebrated anchor Jeff Koinange is in hot soup yet again with allegations of slanderous statements during a JKL interview with Nairobi governor Mike Sonko.
City tycoon Mike Maina is accusing Royal Media Services (RMS) and Jeff Koinange along with Governor Sonko for defamation that has painted the business in bad light since then.
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 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”.
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.
Back in 2015, while working at KTN, Koinange was arrested for failing to appear in court to answer charges of discussing the conduct of a company in the media despite a court order barring the same.
“A warrant of arrest is issued against the two respondents for failing to honour the summons to appear in court. The warrant will be effected through the complainants’ advocates,” ruled the magistrate then.
The decision was a result of a complaint by businessman Jimi Wanjigi, Mr Sani Mbui Wanjigi and Kwacha Group of Companies Limited.
They had obtained orders on March 20 2015 barring Mr Koinange, KTN and the Standard Media Group from broadcasting or publishing alleged defamatory statements concerning them and the company.
Despite serving the order, the three complained that Mr Koinange invited Mr Gachoka on his show on April 1 and went ahead to discuss what they were barred from broadcasting.
According to their lawyer Nicholas Nyamai, the broadcast had caused the company massive losses and undermined the court’s authority.