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Activist ‘arrested over Facebook post questioning Sh6.7m imprest pay by Vihiga County’

Activists in Vihiga County on Friday protested the arrest of their colleague who was accused of posting on his Facebook account what was said to be an imprest form of Sh6.7 million for unspecified services that were offered for five days.

The amount was allegedly received from the county government.

Mr Oscar Moran was detained at Vihiga police station after police picked him up from his Majengo home at night and detained him.

Mr Moran was however released on a free police bond the on Friday mid-morning but his communication gadget was confiscated for further investigations.

Speaking to Nation after his release, Mr Moran said: “I am an activist in this county. I was arrested at midnight and told a county government official had accused me of defaming him after I posted an imprest form of Sh6.7 million.”

MISUSE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

The form, whose authenticity was not established by the Nation, indicates that the said amount was paid to Mr John Masaba from the department of Trade and Industrialisation.

The form contains a rubber stamp from the same department.

“I was booked at the station for libel and misuse of social media. I only wanted clarification over the imprest form that was circulating on social media,” Mr Moran said.

Mr Moran’s arrest led to social media uproar with users demanding for his release.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

An activist with the National Human Rights Defenders, Mr Tom Onzere, said Articles 33 and 35 allows for freedom of speech and access to information.

Nominated member of county assembly Mr Nathan Kamidi said he had tabled the said imprest form in the county assembly to determine its authenticity. He further called for calm as the arrest is being pursued.

Dr Hellen Otolo, a gubernatorial aspirant, wrote on a Whatsapp group: “Oscar has simply asked for accounting of the imprest. There is nothing wrong with tax payers demanding for accounting of public money.”

She added: “Let the county government come clean and account for the monies in the interest of transparency. I stand with Oscar and call for his immediate release.”

The police said the matter is being investigated further.