A number of gaps are emerging in the narrative presented by State agencies on the reasons Sunday Nation writer Walter Menya was arrested on Sunday.
Discrepancies in the motive of the alleged payment of money to the journalist and varying statements on the amount paid are among the faults exposed in court on Monday by lawyer James Orengo, representing Mr Menya.
Arguing before Senior Principal Magistrate Martha Mutuku, Mr Orengo gave various reasons why the case that the State plans to file against Mr Menya was “stranger than fiction”.
He pointed out the fact that Corporal Moses Gituathi, who requested that Mr Menya be detained for more days, did not disclose that police had raided the journalist’s house on Sunday night.
“He has probably conveniently forgotten that the police actually conducted a search on his house yesterday (Sunday) from about 10pm to midnight,” argued Mr Orengo.
“They should have made full disclosure to you that they carried a search. And that’s how they gained access to his laptop and his charger, which were done without warrant.”
Questions have also emerged about Mr Menya’s accuser, Mr Kennedy Kiprotich Koros, whom the prosecution said is unemployed.
Police allege that Mr Menya demanded Sh50,000 from Mr Koros for a story that was published on Sunday.
But Mr Orengo said police had not explained Mr Koros’ role in the whole story.
“We have not been told what interest he has in this story, which is a story of public interest in which the people mentioned have publicly made statements, which again are covered in this story,” he said.
Mr Orengo also questioned a discrepancy in figures stated in a police statement on Sunday and those quoted in court.
“According to the office of the Inspector-General, a total of Sh35,000 had been paid.
His story is that Sh32,000 was paid. There was a balance of Sh20,000, according to the Inspector-General’s office.
But according to the good corporal here, the balance should have been Sh18,000. How Sh20,000 was being paid has not been explained,” said the Siaya senator.
He further argued that if indeed the Sh30,000 was a bribe, then Mr Koros was equally culpable.
Mr Orengo also questioned why three top civil servants, mentioned in Mr Menya’s story had not been listed as complainants in the case and have not recorded statements so far.
“One of the reasons why I accepted these instructions to appear for [Mr Menya] is that when the State begins to treat journalists the way the respondent is being treated, then it is a demonstration of which road we are taking.
I have appeared for journalists in these courts for 30 or 40 years, some of them who went into exile. And when it begins like this, it never ends. The state should be stopped on its tracks,” Mr Orengo told the magistrate.