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Robert Alai to spend weekend in custody over ‘fake’ coronavirus post

Controversial blogger Robert Alai will spend the weekend in police cells awaiting charges on Monday after publishing alleged false news on the situation of coronavirus in Kenya.

Head of investigations bureau at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations John Kariuki said Alai will be charged with publishing fake news in contravention of the Cybercrime Act.

Alai had claimed that two people had died.

“When you contradict the government and say people have died and you are not the health minister, what is that?” Kariuki posed.

Alai had allegedly tweeted that two people died in of Coronavirus in Mombasa but pulled down the tweet after he was summoned by the DCI.

Alai was grilled at the DCI headquarters on Kiambu Road before he was moved to Muthaiga police station where he will be locked up until Monday when he will be arraigned.

Health CS Mutahi Kangwe on Thursday warned that the government will start arresting purveyors of fake news spreading falsehoods about the deadly disease.

“I want to appeal to members of public to desist from any form of misinformation. The social media has been awash with all sort of rumours including that we are locking down Nairobi, sending people home, that we have deployed the military …. things that have come from nowhere. These rumours must stop,” Kagwe said.

“But because I know empty appeals will not work, we will proceed and arrest a number of them to prove our point and of course since they will have something to report regarding coronavirus, we will oblige them by taking them to Mbangathi where they will report because that is where issues of coronavirus can be handled,” the CS warned.

Kariuki said Alai’s false publication is a case of public interest because of the possibility of causing public scare.