STAR AND DAILY NATION: DIFFERENT REPORTS, SAME STORY
Based on exactly the same information, two newspapers have come up with two markedly different reports about what is going on at the ICC in The Hague over a direction by the judges that Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda should hand over secret communications and asylum details relating to one of the witnesses to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s defence lawyers.
STAR’S BRIBERY ANGLE
The Star, under the headline ‘Bensouda to prove witness bribery claims’, reports that the Prosecutor ‘is determined to prove that associates of President Uhuru and former Head of Civil Service Francis Muthura bribed an ICC witness to recant evidence’.
What The Star’s report is referring to is the decision of ‘Witness 4’ earlier this year to withdraw his testimony which led to Bensouda dropping the case against Muthura. Bensouda alleged that the witness had been bribed by intermediaries who claimed to be representing Kenyatta and Muthura. The ‘Witness’ had claimed that President Kenyatta held meetings with Mungiki leaders in January 2008 in State House.
This then is The Star’s take on the story but it fails to point out that Bensouda’s claim was made at the time Witness 4 pulled out, not, as far as the Kenya Forum can see, in a statement she has made in the last 24 hours in relation to the latest directive by the ICC judges, Kuniko Ozaki, Robert Fremr and Chile Eboe-Osuji.
DAILY NATION – ‘UHURU WINS’ ANGLE
The Daily Nation’s report came under the headline ‘Uhuru wins right to have ex-witness data’, a somewhat different angle to that taken by The Star.
The Daily Nation says that Bensouda has been directed by the judges to give Kenyatta’s defence team the emails that ‘Witness 4’ allegedly sent, together with details of the asylum details of the witness.
Kenyatta’s defence lawyers, Steven Kay and Gillian Higgins’, reportedly want to use this evidence to prove that the witness was not where he claimed to be in January 2008.
BENSOUDA DROPS WITNESS BUT KEEPS TESTIMONY
In making their direction the judges also notes that although Fatou Bensouda had dropped ‘Witness 4’ from her list of witnesses for the trial due to start on July 9, she was still relying on his testimony to try and prove Kenyatta’s guilt.
The ICC judges also ordered Ms Bensouda to disclose all other materials she received from ‘Witness 4’ to Kenyatta’s defence team, a fact not reported in The Star.