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Landmark court ruling on couples and dirty secrets



The Court of Appeal has issued orders barring a woman from ‘assassinating’ her estranged husband’s character.

The ruling emanates from a bitter dispute playing out in Kenyan courts between two South African citizens who lived together in Nairobi until 2015 when their marriage collapsed.

The landmark decision, which arose from what the judges described as a rather unusual case in which the husband seeks to use the coercive power of an injunction to stop his wife from defaming him, now opens the door for spouses to pursue each other for disparaging information passed on to third parties.

Albertus Lotter Sadie told the court that he was fired from his job as an accountant for Ecobank Transnational Inc. (Ecobank) after his estranged wife, Elsabel Vilhjoen Sadie, sent an email to two senior managers at the bank portraying him as not fit for the job.

“In July 2015 the wife addressed an email to two senior managers of the husband’s employer portraying the husband as ‘a thief, dishonest man, untrustworthy, violent and a mental case’, among other epithets, who should be deported from Kenya,” read part of the court papers.

Paul Amuga, Lotter’s lawyer, said that Vilhjoen had threatened to release further damning information to her husband’s bosses, relatives and their children.Lotter moved to the High Court where he sought damages for libel as well as orders to stop Vilhjoen from further publicising defamatory information about him.

But Justice Joseph Sergon refused to grant him temporary orders restraining his wife on the basis that communication between spouses is privileged.

Aggrieved, Lotter moved to the Court of Appeal where justices Phillip Waki, Gatembu Kairu and Kathurima M’inoti agreed he needed the court’s protection against an aggrieved spouse determined to bring him down.

“The case before us, as correctly submitted by the appellant’s counsel, is totally different. It has nothing to do with publication of defamatory material between spouses.“Here, it is one spouse, the wife, who took it upon herself to destroy the character of her husband in the eyes of the employer and his workmates, and still threatened to do more. Whether in fact the words were true or not will be a matter for trial, but it cannot be argued that there was no publication,” ruled the court.

After firing off the damning emails to her husband’s employer, Vilhjoen flew back to South Africa. In August 2015, Lotter filed for divorce in the chief magistrate’s court in Nairobi. The divorce case is yet to be heard.

The Court of Appeal found that Vilhjoen had to be stopped from destroying her husband’s character by sending his colleagues disparaging information about him until the battle he lodged at the High Court is determined.

The High Court had denied Lotter temporary orders gagging his estranged partner on grounds that husbands and wives enjoy privilege in the event they decide to expose each other’s dirty linen to third parties.

Justice Sergon had ruled that a man and a woman are assumed to be one when they marry hence they cannot turn and sue each other for defamation if they have not divorced.

But the appellate judges ruled that the couple’s case was different, saying that the emails sent to Lotter’s workmates had nothing to do with defamatory materials between spouses.

“With respect, the learned judge misconstrued the authority cited before him and made an error in principle. We are thus entitled to interfere with his discretion,” they said.

The court also heard that Lotter equally wanted to part ways permanently with Vilhjoen but the lower court dismissed his plea on the account that it did not have powers to dissolve foreign marriages.Lotter appealed before High Court judge Farah Amin and the case is awaiting judgement

.The appellate judges observed that since the divorce case had not been settled, Lotter and Vilhjoen were still a legally married couple.

While Lotter had claimed that his wife’s actions were actuated by malice and meant to cause him maximum damage, Vilhjoen denied the allegations. The law, she argued, shielded a spouse from defamation.

She argued that since the marriage had not been dissolved, she still enjoyed immunity from being sued in the event she uttered words that injured her husband’s reputation.

“Under common law, which is applicable in Kenya, a wife cannot be held liable to libel against her husband during coverture, and in the same vein, communication between spouses is privileged and protected by law,” she said.

What now remains is for the trial court to determine whether Vilhjoen’s words against Lotter were true or not, and whether she ought to pay damages to him for defamation.

“We do not interfere with the finding by the trial court that, on the face of it, the words were defamatory. Once a reputation is lost, it is virtually irreversible and therefore damages may not be a suitable remedy. We think in this case, it is just that the wife be restrained from publishing further defamatory information against the appellant until the main suit is heard and determined,” the judges ruled.

The court also slapped Vilhjoen with the costs of the appeal.

Source: Standard Media

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Police arrest five in ATMs heist



Detectives have narrowed down investigations into the Barclays Bank of Kenya Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) theft ring to a technical team and cash loaders, who attended the three installations immediately before the heist was reported.

The detectives are also disputing the Shi 1.5 million figure given by the bank as the amount lost and believe it could be more.

The Banking Fraud Investigation Unit (BFIU) and a team from the Serious Crime Unit believe the theft that included dismantling of security surveillance systems was well coordinated with likely collusion between internal and external players.

The officers also believe that money meant for at least two ATMs may not have been loaded into the machines by those assigned to reload them.

By yesterday evening, five people had been arrested in connection with the heist.

The bank’s technical team assigned to the machines in question,cash loaders and the private security guards at the scenes of crime are now lined up for interrogation at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters today morning.

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Investigators are puzzled by the huge withdrawal of Shi 1.5 million, which points to possible manipulation of security safeguards of the cash machine at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), Mutindwa in Buruburu, Mater Hospital and at Kenya Cinema within Nairobi Central Business District.

But More puzzling is the fact that the alleged theft at Kenya Cinema is yet to be reported at Central Police Station.

Central police sub-county police commander Robinson Thuku said they were yet to receive any report about the theft despite the area falling under his jurisdiction.

Detectives are also seeking to establish if the alleged amounts were actually loaded in the ATMs before the reported robberies occurred.

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Peter Mbugua ties knot again, 8 years after Wambui’s death



When wedding photos of Peter Mbugua looking dashing in a brown suit emerged, he made headlines, not for the glamour, but because the 25-year-old had married a 67-year-old widow. The widow happened to be Ms Virginia Wambui Otieno. The marriage was criticised by many, but also defended by others.

Then just 25 years old and naive, Mr Mbugua had defied the norm in African culture and married a woman 42 years his senior in a civil wedding. They later had a church wedding in 2011. The controversial freedom fighter died on August 30, 2011. and was buried at the family farm in Upper Matasia in Ngong, marking the end of the marriage.

But yesterday, Mr Mbugua was celebrated as he walked a young woman down the aisle in a colourful church wedding. He tied the knot for the second time at Archbishop Harrison Ng’ang’a’s Christian Foundation Fellowship Church (CFF) in a mass wedding.

And yesterday, unlike his wedding in 2003, Mr Mbugua, now 45, was this time in church to solemnise his marriage to the mother of his three children, who is 10 years his junior.

Wearing a dark blue suit, a white shirt, a floral tie and a pair of black shoes, he walked majestically into the church, at 9am, hand in hand with his spouse, Ms Anne Wangari Njuguna, who was dressed in a cream wedding dress.

They walked, their faces beaming as they kept glancing at each other.

Standing at slightly over five feet tall and having added some weight, the shy man has adopted a new attitude to life.

Mr Mbugua and Ms Njuguna were among the 40 couples who took their marriage vows in a mass wedding organised by CFF church.

In an exclusive interview with the Nation, Mr Mbugua intimated that his first marriage was marred with controversy, especially after his wife died. Although the marriage had its ups and down, he says, their age difference did not bother him.

Mr Mbugua said before the dust had settled, he was embroiled in a property tussle with his stepdaughters.

He was kicked out of the Matasia home, and forced to move to Kitengela to make a fresh start. His life journey became bumpy and lonely.

“When my wife, Wambui, died, I felt as if a part of me had gone with her. Little did I know that the battle had just begun. I was being fought from all directions by my stepdaughters, so I had to maintain a low profile, away from the Matasia home, for

the situation to cool down.

‘‘But our marriage certificate protected me and shielded me from being disinherited. That was one phase of my life and I have never regretted,” said Mr Mbugua. He said he has never visited his late wife’s graves and has moved on.

Although his life was bumpy and lonely after his first wife died, Mbugua has found love, and has two sons and a daughter with Ms Njuguna. Mr Mbugua, who now operates a glass merchant shop in Isinya town, has since shed off his youthful look.

“The law allows me to remarry after the death of my spouse. The first marriage certificate is not longer binding,” he said at the CFF church, occasionally looking at his wife.

Sometimes he appeared in deep thought, his eyes misting over with tears as if he was reflecting on some painful memories. Bishop Ng’ang’a, in his witty style of preaching, did not disappoint, urging the newly-weds to show tolerance for each other and to respect the tenets of marriage.

“Marriage must be respected as stipulated in the Bible. A man is allowed to have only one wife and can remarry only if he is a widower. All couples who have renewed their vows today must be transparent and respect each other,” he said after the couples took their marriage vows.

Mr Mbugua revealed that, since he remarried, he had been toying around with the idea of solemnising his marriage so when the church floated the idea of a mass wedding, he seized the opportunity.

‘’Life has taught me how I can secure my family in case of any eventuality. The young generation fears weddings, not knowing the danger they are courting.

‘‘It is God’s idea that a man and his wife should solemnise their marriage. My wife and relatives have been supportive, aware that the past has nothing to do with the future,” he said.

His wife said she has no problem with his first marriage and declared undying love for him, describing their love as “unimaginable’’.

Speaking to the Nation, some of Mr Mbugua’s relatives who attended the wedding said they were happy their son had married a young woman who had borne him children.They hold no grudges and want the past forgotten.

That the couple was happy was evident as they walked from the church to join a waiting small convoy headed for Kitengela.

After the church service, visitors and relatives were treated to a grand reception at the family’s Milimani home in Kitengela.

His late wife’s relatives did not attend the wedding.


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How Kenyan celebrities marked Easter in 2019



As much as many people in Kenya go to church during the long Easter holiday, quite a number don’t.

A good percentage of Kenyans use this opportunity to unwind, meet up with friends and family or go for trips they have been longing for.

Kenyan celebrities are no different. Some went to church others took trips within and outside the country while others went on with their businesses as usual.

Here is how some of your favourite celebrities celebrated Easter.

King kaka

The C.E.O of Kaka Empire spent his Easter holiday in Dubai with a fan who won herself a trip after attending the rapper’s Eastlando Royalty Album launch last year.

King Kaka posted a video of Susan, the winner of the trip on his Instagram page letting his fans know that their dreams are valid.

“I keep my promises, last year while launching my 5th album Eastlando Royalty I promised to take one lucky fan to Dubai. @_susan_ndungu bought a regular ticket and won. Thanks to @trippygotours who were the official tour partners for the Album Launch. Dreams to reality. For your information, ilikuwa mara yake ya kwanza kufika airport@, kaka wrote.

King Kaka (Photo: Courtesy9

Larry Madowo

BBC Africa Business Editor, Larry Madowo enjoyed his Easter holiday with his extended family in France.

The Kenyan journalist attended a church service where two of his nephews were baptised and dedicated.

“My grandma just saw 2 more of her great grandkids get baptised and everything is perfect! May we all live this long. Happy Easter!” he posted on his Instagram

Larry Madowo and family

Victoria Kimani

The singer went on Safari for Easter. Victoria who was all dressed up in an animal print two-piece posted pictures of her refreshing trip to the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania. She shared videos of the breathtaking view of animals mingling on her Instagram.

Victoria Kimani

H_art the band

Kenyan music group H­_art the band celebrated Easter at the coast.

The band took advantage of the extremely hot weather and took a road trip down to Sarova White Sands Beach Resort & Spa with friends including popular Lucy singer, Ben Soul.

The band took advantage of the extremely hot weather (Photo: Courtesy)


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