The National Bank of Kenya (NBK) has instituted legal proceedings against blogger Cyprian Nyakundi for defaming them.
The bank moved to court seeking orders barring the blogger from defaming the bank on his blog or on social media accounts both directly and through his agents and business associates. The bank claimed the articles on Cyprian’s blog, www.cnyakundi.com were damaging its reputation and thus sought compensation for the damage caused thus far
In March this year, National Bank wrote to the Central Bank of Kenya Governor and the Cabinet Secretary for ICT seeking intervention in dealing with what they called ‘increasing cases of defamation of banks emanating from unregulated blogging’. The bank stated that it is particularly concerned by a social media user who has continued to spread malicious and untruthful information about banks and other companies, in alleged extortion scams. The Bank also wrote to the Media Council of Kenya for verification of the blogger’s identity and to check if the council has jurisdiction over blogging.
National Bank also stated in its statement it supports legislation promoting responsible blogging while at the same time seeking to punish abuse of freedom of expression through irresponsible blogging. The bank said it will seek the support of the industry lobby as well as affected companies in seeking a lasting solution. It singled out the fact that bloggers do not subscribe to a code of ethics or have requirements for formal education or certificate in journalism.
This statement however invited the ire of the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) who in their response urged them to take legal proceedings against the specific blogger who they feel defamed them. The statement further advised the bank against blanket condemnation of bloggers.
It appears National Bank took the advise to sue Nyakundi by first getting injunction orders stopping him from publishing any information about the bank. The court allowed the bank to serve him through WhatsApp, email and the newspaper.
Nyakundi faces three other defamation suits. He has been sued by Safaricom, businessmen Vimal Shah and Norman Nyagah for allegedly defaming them through his social media accounts and blog.
Download the court injunction here
Nyakundi has published over 10 articles of the bank and its top officials. The posts cast aspersions on the bank and other agents like the Central Bank of Kenya for colluding to defraud the public.
Various local publications including Sunday Nation have published articles of the bank that raise integrity issues.
National Bank has seen several leadership changes this year due to the bank’s poor performance. 15 top managers have left the bank in the past eight months including the then Chief Executive.
The bank has been planning a rights issue since 2013. It is unlikely this will take place soon, since the government wants an audit conducted first before it sells part of its shares.