Kajiado cleric sues car firm for Sh50m in defamation case

Bishop Tinga Ole Turere

Bishop Tinga Ole Turere of the Global  Cathedral Church.

Photo credit: Pool

A Kajiado-based cleric, Bishop Tinga Ole Turere of the Global Cathedral Church, has moved to court seeking Sh50 million in compensation from CarMax East Africa Ltd allegedly for defamation.

In a case filed at the Milimani Law Courts, Bishop Turere had sought orders against the car dealer, its agents or servants from repossessing, transferring, interfering or advertising by way of sale of public auction or private treaty or otherwise disposing of the motor vehicle, whose registration number is KCV 550B.

The court had issued an order on May 16 restraining the company “whether by themselves, their agents, their employees and/or servants from sharing the plaintiff’s personal data, information and/or defamatory messages on a public or private platform, social media or otherwise” pending the hearing and determination of the case.

According to documents filed in court by Bishop Turere’s lawyer, Mr Mathew Muoki, the cleric wants the car dealer to admit liability, retract the defamatory social media posts and pay him Sh50 million in damages.

"The words in the impugned messages and social media posts are defamatory of our client who is a highly respected church leader. The message was intended to portray our client as a deceitful, dishonest and unethical person," reads part of the demand letter from the plaintiffs' lawyer Mathew Muoki.

In a reply to the demand letter written by James Njeri & Co Advocates on June 7, 2024, on behalf of CarMax East Africa Limited to Mathew Muoki Advocates, the law firm argued that Bishop Turere had not been defamed by asking him to pay the outstanding sums for the vehicle he is currently using.

Furthermore, on 30 May 2024, Bishop Turere escalated the matter to the office of the Data Protection Commissioner.

The bone of contention is a Sh6.5 million car that Bishop Turere bought from CarMax on December 28, 2019. While Bishop Turere insists he owes the company Sh1,302,500 payable in monthly instalments of Sh100,000, CarMax East Africa Ltd  says the debt is Sh1,543,000.

According to the agreement seen by the Nation, Bishop Tinga was to pay Sh3,250,000 and the balance of Sh3,250,000 was to be financed by the bank.

Re-negotiations of the repayment plan have been reviewed by both parties separately with Bishop Ole Tinga pledging his land LR No Kajiado/Kaputiei North /20602 on 27 October 2020 as collateral.