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Kenya football boss threatens to sue paper

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-7-26 11:21:35

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president, Sam Nyamweya, has threatened to sue a leading local daily over an article it published on Thursday concerning allegations of graft in the body.

In a notice filed late in the day through his lawyer, Evan Ondieki, Nyamweya has given the publication seven days to retract the article titled "Football federation under probe over 'missing' Sh34.8m" and publish an unreserved apology or full legal proceedings will be instituted.

"This is to demand from you, which we hereby do the immediate withdrawal of the false allegations and the defamatory article through unconditional apology in a strategic page highlighting the intended apology within seven days.

"Failure to which we have strict instructions to institute legal proceedings to protect the rights of our client with all the attendant consequences as to the costs and other incidentals pertaining to litigation," the notice from the lawyer stated.

The latest development comes in the heels of the mass circulation daily publishing confirmation from Kenya's Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) that they had launched investigations into the alleged embezzlement of $419,277 from the federation coffers as well as other dubious financial dealings.

In his notice, Nyamweya has enjoined FKF Coast Branch National Executive Committee (NEC) member, Hussein Swaleh Hussein, popularly known as Hussein Terry and the article's author, Aggrey Mutambo as joint respondents alongside the Managing Editor of the paper.

Curiously, the intention to sue for defamation targets the Nation, widely regarded as the most read daily in Kenya whilst other local and international media outlets have also carried the same story on diverse dates from last week.

"We have received instructions from Mr. Sam Nyamweya, the president of FKF and the instructions we have are to address you as follows," the lawyer states in the opening of the notice.

Listing the alleged defamatory headlines and subsequent paragraphs, the lawyers wrote that the potential damage to Nyamweya's reputation as a member of continental body, CAF and world governing body FIFA governing organs in addition to potential sponsors of the sport struggling to raise funds in the country.

"These words are totally untrue and you were reckless and indifferent to their falsehoods. These words are innuendo that football chiefs are corrupt and not fit to hold public office," part of the notice read.

Additionally, the lawyer stated publication of the story in the print and online versions of the paper exposed the football boss to international ridicule.

Nyamweya who is facing the sternest test of his tenure since being elected the leader of FKF in late October 2011 has been robustly fighthing the claims that have the potential of seeing Kenya banned from international football by FIFA.

Last week, the country's Cabinet Secretary for Sport, Dr. Hussein Wario, demanded FKF to put their house in order to access government funds to develop the games and with the EACC, a state agency involved in a probe of alleged misuse of funds, FIFA statutes that clearly state lack of interference in football matters by the government will be violated.

Terry and former NEC members, suspended pair vice-chairman, Sammy Sholei and Tom Alila have been championing the allegations, going ahead to provide documents they assert prove Nyamweya and his team are culpable.

On his side, the football boss has dismissed them as baseless with the statements produced as evidence, "Nothing short of fabrications and machinations to tarnish my name."

Only last weekend, Terry who until May was one of Nyamweya's most trusted henchmen claimed his life was in danger after he was allegedly by hooligans puportedly hired by Nyamweya.

He had just left the studios of QTV, a local sister television station to Nation for an interview where he aired the claims and he has already filed a report to police.
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