The High Court in Nairobi has ordered Nation Media Group to pull down the much-publicized investigative piece, ‘COVID-19 millionaires’, pending the hearing of a defamation suit against the media house.
Megascope Limited, one of the companies adversely mentioned in the exposé, is suing NMG and investigative journalist Dennis Okari for allegedly linking it to the multi-billion shillings scandal at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).
According to the investigative piece that was also uploaded to NTV’s Youtube channel on August 17 and viewed over 750,000 times as of Wednesday, September 23, Megascope was one of the companies appointed by KEMSA to clear medical supplies donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma.
Through lawyer Njoroge Regeru, Megascope moved to court arguing that ‘COVID-19 millionaires’ being on social media continues to damage his client’s reputation and it should be pulled down.
But NMG lawyer Kiragu Kimani opposed the application to pull down the piece saying an earlier gag order issued by the court against NMG not to report on Megascope was sufficient.
In a virtual court hearing on Wednesday, Justice Joseph Sergon allowed NMG and Okari’s affidavits that were filed late Tuesday to be part of the case.
Kimani apologised to court for the late filing saying it was difficult locating Okari to sign the affidavits because he is in hiding. The court was told that NMG lawyers had a hard time accessing the journalist because since he is in hiding, he is the one to get in touch with them and not the other way round.
The judge granted Megascope’s application and directed NMG to pull down ‘COVID-19 millionaires’ from their social media platforms pending the hearing of the case.
The case will be mentioned on October 22.