Whistleblower Ordered to Pay Former Minister Ksh10M in Ksh3.6 Billion Case

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    Court of Appeal proceedings on June 29, 2021
  • The court has ordered a whistleblower to pay a former Cabinet Minister Ksh10 million in a defamation case.

    John Githongo has been ordered by the Court of Appeal to pay former Cabinet Minister Chris Murungaru Ksh10 million for defamation.

    The three-judge bench reviewed the damages that the High Court had awarded Murungaru in 2019, from Ksh27 million to Ksh10 million.

    INUKA Kenya CEO John Githongo
    INUKA Kenya CEO John Githongo

    Murungaru went to court 17 years ago accusing Githongo of defaming him, in a case that saw the country lose billions of shillings in fraudulent deals.

    This was after Githongo published materials on what came to be known as the Anglo Leasing scandal where Kenyan taxpayers lost more than Ksh3.6 billion for a contract awarded to Anglo Leasing finance.

    The firm had convinced the government that it was in a position to supply Kenya with a system to print high technology passports and naval ships as well as the construction of forensic laboratories.

    The High Court had directed Githongo to pay Dr murungaru Ksh20 million in general damages, Ksh5 million in exemplary damages and Ksh2 million in special damages.

    Githongo, a former Ethics and Governance Permanent Secretary in President Mwai Kibaki's administration challenged the decision after he named the ex-Minister and other officials in government as the key architects of the scandal.

    Taxpayers lost more than Ksh3.6 billion and Githongo claimed Murungaru was among the architects of this scandal and they used an Anglo Leasing finances company to win a contract from the Mwai Kibaki government.

    Githongo resigned from cabinet and went into exile after lifting the lid on the scandal. While in exile he read a manuscript from his book "It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of A Kenyan Whistleblower" by Michela Wrong.

    He gave interviews and tape recordings to international media houses Al-Jazeera and the BBC and this was the beginning of his troubles in this case.

    Former Cabinet Minister Chris Murungaru speaking to journalists outside court
    Former Cabinet Minister Chris Murungaru speaking to journalists outside court

    In this case, Murungaru maintained that Githongo's dossier tarnished his good reputation yet a parliamentary watchdog committee had cleared him of all claims related to the Anglo Leasing scandal.

    Justice Joseph Sergon noted that Githongo had told the Court he was not aware the former cabinet minister had been charged with graft, and neither did he have knowledge of monies being traced in Dr Murungaru’s accounts.