Kenya: Bank Hires UK Law Firm in Blogger Nyakundi Case

22 January 2020

A local bank at the centre of a defamation row with controversial blogger Cyprian Nyakundi has hired a top British law firm currently representing Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle to tackle the case.

In a statement published in local dailies, Victoria Commercial Bank (VCB) says it has enlisted the services of London-based Schillings, renowned for reputation management and defamation issues, in its case against Mr Nyakundi.

Schillings is currently representing the royal couple in their suit against British tabloid newspaper Mail on Sunday after it published a private letter she wrote to her father last year.

It also sent out a letter this week warning British news outlets that the royal couple will act if they buy or publish any photographs from their new home in Canada after they stepped down from their official roles.

The move by VCB underlines the seriousness with which the lender's management is handling the defamation case against Mr Nyakundi and his counterpart Emmanuel Nyamweya Ong'era as the bank fights to guard its reputation.

Mr Nyakundi and Mr Ong'era were arrested by Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officers at Westgate Mall, Nairobi, on Monday on allegations of extortion, blackmail and false accusations.

They allegedly demanded Sh17.5 million to take the posts down and had just received Sh1 million from their victims when they were arrested in a sting operation.

"We chose not to pay money to have the blogs removed but, instead, took the necessary legal steps to defend the bank's reputation through our counsel, Schillings, a highly reputable British law firm," VCB said in the statement signed by CEO Yogesh Pattni.


In its statement, VCB says it initiated further legal action against the controversial blogger after its plea to have him remove or delete the defamatory posts bore no fruit.

A court had in September last year issued an injunction requiring that the online posts be removed, but VCB says Mr Nyakundi failed to do so and instead posted many more stories, prompting it to start a case against him in the High Court of Kenya.

"He has failed to remove the blogs and has published additional defamatory posts. As a result, contempt-of-court proceedings have been issued against him," it added.

The defiance also spotlights a growing trend by individuals, companies and even State agencies to flout court orders.

The bank also revealed that it has engaged third party websites that re-published the stories seeking their removal.

Schillings' past high-profile clients include actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, author JK Rowling, model Naomi Campbell, athlete Lance Armstrong and British billionaire Sir Phillip Green.

The company is renowned for helping its elite clients fight cyber-defamation issues in relation to new media.

The company was co-founded in 1984 by Keith Schilling.

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