Court stops BBC from linking Wetangula to BAT graft claims


Wetangula
Wetangula

The High Court has stopped the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) from linking Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula to the bribery allegations by British American Tobacco (BAT) Company.

The Senator, in an urgent application to the High Court, said that he was defamed by the British Broadcaster in its program known as Panorama, which allegedly portrayed him as having solicited the purchase of an airline ticket to London for his wife.

The Senator said the programme purportedly said he was corruptly involved in a corporate scandal in which BAT bribed him when he served as Minister for Trade during the retired President Daniel Arap Moi’s regime.

The Senator, through Senior Counsel James Orengo, said that the story televised by BBC has continued to be in circulation through a multitude of electronic and print media to his prejudice.

He pointed out that the article has been used as a basis of unjustified attacks against him by his political rivals and the civil society.

Wetangula argued that the story and the reports are false and malicious and cannot be true.

Justice Nicolas Ombija certified the application as urgent and directed it to be heard on January 7th, 2016.

A week ago, BAT issued a statement saying that it conducts its business with honesty, integrity and transparency, and has strict anti-bribery rules.

The statement further indicated that BAT is committed to the “highest standards of corporate conduct” and its anti-bribery rules are “strictly enforced”.

It told Panorama: “The truth is that we do not and will not tolerate corruption, no matter where it takes place.

BBC’s allegations came even as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) formed a committee to accord Wetangula an opportunity to show cause as to why he should not be de-registered as a voter over bribery allegations.

The Special Committee will sit on January 12th, 2016 and submit its report to the Commission Plenary by January 20th next year for determination.

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Story By Reuben Wanyama
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