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Blogger Nyakundi to be charged on Friday with Sh17.5m extortion


The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Wednesday said that blogger Cyprian Nyakundi and his accomplice Emmanuel Nyamweya Ong’era will appear in court on Friday, January 24, to face charges of extortion contrary to section 300 (1) of the Penal Code.

The two were arrested by police on allegations of extortion, blackmail and false accusations on Monday, at Westgate Mall in Nairobi following a successful probe.

They were arrested after allegedly receiving Sh1 million from one of their victims as down payment for Sh17.5 million they had demanded from Victoria Commercial Bank before pulling down libelous stories from their website.

The directorate said Sh1 million exhibit money was recovered.

The local bank at the centre of the defamation row has hired a top British law firm currently representing Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle to tackle the case against British tabloid newspaper Mail on Sunday after it published a private letter she wrote to her father last year.

REPUTATION MANAGEMENT

In a statement published in local dailies, Victoria Commercial Bank (VCB) says it has enlisted the services of London-based Schillings, renowned for reputation management and defamation issues, in its case against Nyakundi.

The move by VCB underlines the seriousness with which the lender’s management is handling the defamation case against Nyakundi and his counterpart Ong’era as the bank fights to guard its reputation.

In its statement, VCB says it initiated further legal action against the controversial blogger after its plea to have him remove or delete the defamatory posts bore no fruit.

The blogger is not new to controversy.

DEROGATORY REMARKS

In April 2018, Mr Nyakundi was charged in Kiambu with posting derogatory remarks online against Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Nairobi’s Mike Sonko and the then Kenya Power Managing Director Ken Tarus.

He denied the charges and was freed on a Sh200,000 bond or Sh100,000 cash bail for each alleged offence.

At the time, Nyakundi was also charged with posting hate speech content against the Kikuyu community on social media.

He denied the accusation and was freed on a Sh2 million bond or Sh1 million cash bail.

In 2015, Safaricom bosses, Bob Collymore and Michael Joseph, sued the blogger for publishing defamatory information about them.

The two obtained a court order that barred the blogger from publishing any such content pending determination of their case.

If found guilty of extortion or gaining anything from any person, Nyakundi and his accomplice will be liable to imprisonment for fourteen years; and in any other case the offender is liable to imprisonment for three years.