Monitor Journalists in Trouble as MP Demands Shs520M Over Teso Murder Series

Two investigative and political journalists of the Daily Monitor are in trouble after Bukedea district Woman MP, website like this Anita Among and Kacumbala County MP, seek Opolot Isiagi initiated the process of dragging them to court.

Ms Among is particularly demanding shs500 million in compensation in damages and shs20 million in legal fees from the Daily Monitor, Ivan Okuda and Solomon Arinaitwe after the newspaper’s controversial series, ‘Guns, Blood and Politics in Teso’ that ran from Friday to today (Wednesday) cited the two MPs as having a hand in one prominent murder in Bukedea district.

A notice of intention to sue penned by her lawyer Joseph Kyazze of MAGNA Advocates addressed to the (chief editor Daily Monitor, Ivan Okuda, Solomon Arinaitwe), reads, “the two stories, “Gangsters invade Teso, torture and kill with impunity in the Friday Monitor of March 17, and another in Saturday Monitor March 18, titled, “Police kill suspect, torture relatives after failed gun search’ were actuated by malice, sensationalism, deliberately published and circulated to malign her name, political, professional and business repute.”

The lawyer says the story falsely asserted that Among, also the deputy chairperson COSASE masterminded and financed the murder of a one Mary Opus and was privy to attempts to murder David Omagor the son of the said 74 year old woman. The suspects in the murder are currently facing trial at the soroti High Court for the offence of murder.

“The allegation that efforts to contact our client for her comment were futile is clearly an afterthought as the same reporter, Ivan Okuda subsequently appeared on KFM in the morning of Monday March 20, 2017 and further alleged how President Museveni is protective of our client in the investigations in the murder of the said Mary Opus,” the lawyer says in his letter.

The newspaper has been given three days, “to restrain Okuda and ask him to cease any further publication of any such stories about our client and arrange and compensate her in damages the sum of shs500 million and shs20 million.”

When contacted Okuda told Chimpreports, “I heard whispers from the corridors that the honorable MPs intend to start contemplating legal action. To that end I am comfortable letting our legal team deal with the matter and for any other queries feel free to contact our distinguished editors for an authoritative comment otherwise I have no figment of doubt in the clarity of our conscience.”

In another letter dated March 20, Wamimbi Advocates and Solicitors representing MP Opolot Isiagi over the same story, “demand that you retract the said portions of the story that are defamatory of our client in addition to an apology clarifying the said issues within 7 days lest we shall be inclined to institute legal proceedings against the company, editor in chief and Ivan Okuda.”

On Friday police chief Gen Kale Kayihura told reporters at the scene of crime of slain police spokesman Felix Kaweesi he had last communicated to and assigned his erstwhile blue eyed boy at 8:30am asking him to respond to the “alarmist Monitor story.” State minister for internal affairs Obigia Kania on NBS tv yesterday too expressed anger over the Teso murder series that exposed a spate of extrajudicial killings since 2014 as alarmist.

Monitor’s Managing Editor, Charles Odoobo Bichachi, when contacted on the impending law suits told us he was not yet aware of them.

He stressed however, that the company stands by the series and the journalists.

“As a newspaper we get threats of lawsuits quite often; it is nothing out the ordinary. What I  can say is that we took our time to do this series and we are satisfied that we have done it well, and in the interest of exposing what happened in Teso,” he told us on phone.

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