William Ruto Sues Cord Leaders Over Karen Land Saga
DEPUTY President William Ruto has sued five Cord leaders for linking him to the 134-acre land grabbing scandal in Karen.
Ruto filed a defamation case at the High Court yesterday, accusing Senators Johnstone Muthama (Machakos), James Orengo (Siaya), Bonny Khalwale (Kakamega) and Elizabeth Ongoro (nominated) as well as Suna East MP Junet Mohammed of falsely and maliciously involving him with the scam.
Through lawyer Kioko Kilukumi, the DP said claims that he was a beneficiary of the land grab were motivated by malice and hatred with the sole intention of injuring his personal and professional image.
He wants the court to issue an injunction restraining the politicians from further publishing or propagating any statements, by whatever means, linking or attempting to connect him to the alleged land dispute.
He says the politicians went ahead to name him as being one of the principal architects in the monumental land grab, but they ought to have known that he does not own “an inch” of the controversial land.
“The words are a pack of lies, falsehoods and untruths based on innuendo, rumour, gossip, inconclusive references and suspicion and there is no evidence linking me to the scam,” Ruto says.
A company, Muchanga Investment, associated with businessman Horatio Da Gama Rose, has been fighting for ownership of the land with another firm, Telesocurce.Com Limited, linked to former managing trustee of the National Social Security Fund Jos Konzolo.
The National Land Commission has declared that Muchanga Investment owns the land.
In the suit, Ruto is seeking an unspecified amount of money in general damages.
He also wants the court to compel the five to apologise to him. He argues that their false remarks have subjected him to public humiliation, hatred and ridicule.
Ruto is also seeking aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages for slander.
The Cord leaders had claimed that top government officials, among them Ruto, Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu, Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo, CID Director Ndegwa Muhoro, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Senator Mike Sonko, are linked to the land tussle. All those mentioned have denied the claims.
On October 19, the lawmakers told a press conference that the six should record statements with the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission so as to unravel the schemes behind the irregular land acquisition.
The Cord leaders were expected to appear before the EACC to present evidence on the claims they made, but failed to do so.
Ruto says the words published in the media were understood by ordinary Kenyans to mean that he is a corrupt public officer with an insatiable appetite for illegal acquisition of public land.
Further, he says the defamatory remarks insinuated that he sought political power for the sole purpose of furthering corrupt practices.
He says the words also meant that he participated directly and indirectly in irregular land grabbing as the chief architect and that he lacks integrity and is therefore unsuitable to hold public office.
“They ought to have known the land in question is registered in public registries with documentation giving the identities of the registered owners. A search would have revealed that he does not own any piece of the disputed land in Karen,” says Kilukumi.
Ruto says he has been greatly injured in the performance of his duties as Deputy President, a prominent politician, businessman and a State officer.