Ruto fights bid to re­veal his wealth

DP is very rich and reg­u­larly makes large haram­bee contributions

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - RAMADHAN RA­JAB @Rra­jab

In an ex­plo­sive le­gal duel, Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto yes­ter­day asked a court to block ac­tivist Boni­face Mwangi from ac­cess­ing his wealth records. The DP is very rich. He will also take the stand to de­fend his rep­u­ta­tion in a defama­tion suit he filed against Mwangi. He will be the sole wit­ness in a dra­matic hear­ing.

The case is shap­ing up as a test of the DP’s char­ac­ter, in­flu­ence and po­lit­i­cal might — as well as of Mwangi’s in­tegrity.

The ac­tivist has asked the Kenya Rev­enue Au­thor­ity and the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral and Bound­aries Com­mis­sion for Ruto’s tax re­turns and wealth dec­la­ra­tion forms.

Ruto has sued Mwangi for defama- tion for link­ing him in a tweet with the mur­der of whis­tle-blower busi­ness­man Ja­cob Juma, as­sas­si­nated on May 5.

Mwangi has counter-punched, say­ing he can sub­stan­ti­ate his claims and needs the DP’s records to do so.

In 54 pages of suit pa­pers filed by Ruto’s lawyers yes­ter­day and Mon­day evening, the DP said Mwangi was de­ter­mined to con­tinue tar­nish­ing his name.

Ruto is listed by his lawyer Kioko Kilukumi as the sole wit­ness to tes­tify.

In a re­ply­ing af­fi­davit to Mwangi’s re­sponse, Kilukumi wants the court to gag Mwangi and his lawyer Gi­tobu Iman­yara from fur­ther pub­lish­ing “defam­a­tory” con­tent against the DP.

Ruto wants Mwangi or­dered to re­tract, delete and apol­o­gise pub­licly and on so­cial me­dia for the “of­fend­ing” tweet and to meet all le­gal costs.

This comes a day af­ter Mwangi’s lawyer re­quested in­for­ma­tion from the tax­man on the DP’s tax fil­ings and wealth dec­la­ra­tion re­turns for his time in of­fice.

Iman­yara told KRA the in­for­ma­tion is needed by Novem­ber 1 to aid in pre­par­ing de­fence in the defama­tion cases that has gen­er­ated im­mense public de­bate.

On Septem­ber 30, Kilukumi sought Mwangi’s un­con­di­tional ad­mis­sion of li­a­bil­ity for li­bel following his “li­belous” tweet on Septem­ber 28.

The tweet: “I hope the Deputy Pres­i­dent has no plans of killing me the way he killed his old friend, Ja­cob Juma, a fel­low thief who be­came a whis­tle blower.”

Ruto’s lawyer said this was false, ma­li­cious and aimed to per­ma­nently dam­age the DP’s rep­u­ta­tion.

He said he was obliged to file suit when the Mwangi through his ad­vo­cate pub­lished fur­ther “defam­a­tory” ma­te­rial.

Mwangi was given seven day’s no­tice to with­draw the tweet or face le­gal ac­tion. But be­fore the no­tice lapsed on Oc­to­ber 5, Mwangi through his lawyer said he will not re­tract or apol­o­gise. Iman­yara said the DP has

‘I HAVE BEEN GRAVELY IN­JURED IN MY REP­U­TA­TION, CHAR­AC­TER, AND CREDIT AND LOW­ERED IN THE ES­TI­MA­TION OF RIGHT­THINK­ING PER­SONS GEN­ER­ALLY. MY NAME HAS BEEN BROUGHT INTO PUBLIC SCAN­DAL, ODIUM, RIDICULE, CON­TEMPT. I HAVE BEEN HURT IN MY FEEL­INGS AND THUS SUF­FERED CON­SID­ER­ABLE EM­BAR­RASS­MENT AND DIS­TRESS’

no rep­u­ta­tion worth pro­tect­ing and that Mwangi had only ex­pressed his fears.

Ac­cord­ing to Ruto’s wit­ness state­ment filed at the High Court in Mil­i­mani, im­me­di­ately af­ter Mwangi’s ini­tial tweet he started re­ceiv­ing calls from col­leagues in government, friends and fam­ily mem­bers. All ex­pressed sur­prise and be­wil­der­ment over the ref­er­ence and his al­leged in­volve­ment in Juma’s mur­der, he said.

“I was ex­tremely em­bar­rassed and at great pains to ex­plain to my close friends and as­so­ciates that the con­tents of the tweet posted by the de­fen­dant were a pack of lies and false­hoods and that in­deed I had ab­so­lutely no in­volve­ment what­so­ever in the killing of Ja­cob Juma,” Ruto said. His close friends and fam­ily have been hurt and “an­guished” by the ac­cu­sa­tions, he said.

Ruto terms defam­a­tory Iman­yara’s words, “...Wil­liam Ruto is a prime sus­pect in the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the death of Ja­cob Juma….Our client has very real and com­pelling rea­sons for fear­ing that your client wish[es] to kill him… he har­bors these well-founded fears that your client may want to silence him by hav­ing [him] killed...” Iman­yara had writ­ten the let­ter in re­sponse to Kilukumi’s de­mand let­ter.

Ruto said the words meant that he was a mur­derer with no re­gard for hu­man life, he killed Ja­cob Juma, he is a thief, a per­son of ques­tion­able in­tegrity, cor­rupt, a land grab­ber and as a na­tional leader he can­not be trusted with public prop­erty as well he was in­tend­ing or plan­ning to kill the de­fen­dant.

“I have been gravely in­jured in my rep­u­ta­tion, char­ac­ter, and credit and low­ered in the es­ti­ma­tion of right-think­ing per­sons gen­er­ally. My name has been brought into public scan­dal, odium, ridicule, con­tempt. I have been hurt in my feel­ings and thus suf­fered con­sid­er­able em­bar­rass­ment and dis­tress,” Ruto said.

Un­less the de­fen­dant is re­strained,he will con­tinue to tweet or post on so­cial me­dia or make sim­i­lar al­le­ga­tions, thereby ir­re­triev­ably ru­in­ing his rep­u­ta­tion, Ruto said.

Ruto and his lawyer have sub­mit­ted as in­tended ev­i­dence 21 pages of tweet in­ter­ac­tion of the al­leged defam­a­tory words, their de­mand let­ter and the re­sponse from Mwangi’s lawyer. They have also sub­mit­ted the press re­lease from the Po­lice IG about Juma’s death.

Ruto says Mwangi failed to pay due re­gard to the fact that Juma’s death is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion and the IG has ap­pealed for in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the mur­der. He faults Mwangi for fail­ing to pay due re­gard to his rep­u­ta­tion as “a per­son of high moral stand­ing” who would never take the life of another hu­man be­ing and who is an elected na­tional leader en­trusted with the po­si­tion of DP.

In his state­ment, the DP says Mwangi failed to use proper pro­ce­dure to lodge a com­plaint against him with the po­lice and to have the mat­ter in­ves­ti­gated and charges pre­ferred should there be ev­i­dence to pros­e­cute.

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