SPREAD FEAR AND PANIC

Blogger charged with publishing false info on CS's Covid-19 status

He allegedly posted that Interior CS Matiang'i had been admitted with virus

In Summary

• Prosecution said the accused posted the information knowing it to be false and calculated to cause fear and panic to CS Matiang’i and his family.

• Court was further told that the screenshots of the post made their way to various social media platforms including Twitter where it was trending on #MatiangIcu.

Lawyer Kipchumba Karori and his client, Isaac Kibet, at the Milimani law courts on July 27.
ARRAIGNED: Lawyer Kipchumba Karori and his client, Isaac Kibet, at the Milimani law courts on July 27.
Image: CAROLYNE KUBWA

A blogger who allegedly published false information on a social media claiming CS Fred Matiang’i was admitted at a hospital having contracted coronavirus was on Wednesday charged.

Isaac Kibet is accused of knowingly publishing false information on domain dailystar.co.ke and a Facebook account.

According to the charge sheet, Kibet claimed, "Fred Matiang’i is admitted at Aga Khan ICU battling Covid-19. The super CS is said to be among the 3CSs who contracted the deadly disease." 

 

"He has been missing from President Uhuru Kenyatta's key events. Various sources intimated to Daily Star that Matiang’i was admitted at the facility after his health deteriorated at his home where he was under self-quarantine."

The prosecution said the accused posted the information knowing it to be false and calculated to cause fear and panic to CS Matiangi’i and his family.

Kibet allegedly committed the offence between July 23 and 24 at unknown place in the country.

He denied the charges before Milimani senior principal magistrate Benard Ochoi.

Through his lawyer Collins Kiprono, Kibet requested the court to release him on lenient bond terms saying that he is from a humble background. 

Kiprono told the court that his client recently graduated from Kenyatta University and he is a poor journalist having not secured a job," the court was told.

He added that Kibet has a fixed abode and he has cooperated with the investigating officers and will not interfere with witnesses.

 

“Noting hard economic times due to Covid-19, kindly give my client lenient bail so that he can be able to attend court," Kiprono said. 

Ochoi released Kibet on Sh50,000 bail or Sh100,000 bond.

He further warned the accused not to mention the case on any social media platform.

The case will be mentioned on August 12.

On Monday, police were given two days by the court to detain the accused pending investigations.

According to police, the post was false and made with the intent to cause alarm and panic among Kenyans during the pandemic. 

The court was further told that the screenshots of the post made their way to various social media platforms including Twitter where it was trending on #MatiangIcu.

"The post went so viral that Kibet pulled it down. We need time to recover the post through forensic analysis,” the prosecution said.

The prosecution had argued that Kibet would, if released, access his Facebook and Twitter accounts and interfere with the investigations. 

Edited by R.Wamochie