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Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula to serve BBC with court papers afresh

NAIROBI
By Fred Makana | January 8th 2016

The court has given Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang'ula two weeks to serve an international media house with documents of a defamation suit.

Justice Roselyne Aburili yesterday directed that fresh service be effected and that Wetang'ula should choose either to serve British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC) Kenyan offices or its headquarters in London.

James Orengo, the senator's lawyer, yesterday told the court that BBC's Kenyan office was served with the suit documents, but they were returned after opening the envelope containing the court papers.

"The BBC returned our papers, which forced us to write to them a demand letter which they are yet to respond to," said Orengo.

Mr Orengo said further documents had been sent to BBC's London office but they had not responded.

He urged the court to direct the BBC to send its representative to court once they had been formally served.

Justice Aburili ordered a fresh service to be effected and the matter mentioned inter parties on January 26 for directions.

The judge said orders issued against BBC to desist from broadcasting or publishing the defamatory article shall remain in place until further orders from the court.

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Wetang'ula filed a defamation suit against BBC for linking him to bribery allegations by the British American Tobacco (BAT).

The senator said he was defamed by BBC in its programme dubbed Panorama, which allegedly portrayed him as having solicited the purchase of an airline ticket to London for his wife.

The programme, he said, revealed that the senator was corruptly involved in a corporate scandal in which BAT bribed him while he was serving as minister for Trade during former President Daniel arap Moi's regime.

Wetang'ula, through his lawyer, said the impugned story televised by BBC had continued to be in circulation through a multitude of electronic and print media to his prejudice.

Mr Orengo said the article had been used as a basis of unjustified attacks against the senator by his political rivals and civil society.

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