Father, son in trouble over Facebook post on Governor Joho’s brother

The entrance to Mombasa Law Courts.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

A Mombasa court has lifted a warrant of arrest issued against businessman Farid Ahmed Swale and his son Amir Farid Ahmed, who are facing criminal charges under the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act.

Mr Farid and Mr Amir are suspected of publishing false information on a social media page.

The two are accused of falsely claiming that Mombasa tycoon Abubakar Joho hired goons to carry out an attack.

The charge sheet indicates that the two knowingly published false information on a Facebook page known as Tycoonnews Kenya at their residence in Lantana Coral Drive, Nyali sub-county.

The suspects allegedly claimed that an attack had been carried out by thugs sent by Mr Joho. The State says the information damaged Mr Joho’s reputation.

Mr Amir is also accused of giving false information to the police.

He is alleged to have informed senior officer Simon Wabwire that he had been assaulted by goons sent by Mr Joho, thereby causing the officer to use his lawful power to the annoyance of the complainant.

Prosecution say the suspects committed the offences on November 21, 22 and 23, 2020 at their residence and at Premier Hospital.

In March this year, the suspects filed an application at the High Court seeking anticipatory bail after it became apparent that they would be arrested over the false information they had posted on social media.

The application was filed before Justice Anne Ong’injo by Husna Rashid Al-Naaman, Mr Farid’s wife and the mother of Mr Amir.

Ms Al-Naaman requested bail for the two, saying they were in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where Mr Farid was undergoing treatment.

She said her husband had been in the UAE since November last year.

“The applicants in their absence, and without their knowledge, were charged in court with an offence arising out of a complaint lodged by Mr Joho,” she said.

She sought court protection for her husband upon his return to Kenya as there was a warrant out for his arrest.

But police opposed Ms Al-Naaman’s application, saying Mr Farid and Mr Amir had failed to appear in court to take a plea.

Adam Ibrahim, who is investigating the matter, said the two were charged on January 27 but failed to appear in court to plead to the charges and hence an arrest warrant was issued.

The charges, he said, were withdrawn on February 23 after the duo failed to go to court but the arrest warrant remained in force.

“The applicants were aware of investigations that led to their being charged because Mr Amir recorded a statement,” he said.

“Mr Farid also visited regional Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters for purposes of recording a statement but declined to do so after interview and interrogation.”

Mr Ibrahim said Mr Farid had been aware of the intention to charge him when he left the country on November 25.

“He, therefore, fled the country to evade arrest and being charged. Mr Amir also went underground and the police traced him,” he said.

The investigator argued that the right to bail does not give anyone a right not to appear before police or any other authority seeking to question them about an alleged crime.

“That there is no reason why the applicants would fail and or neglect to submit themselves to court to answer charges. The applicants’ claims of harassment are unfounded as no threats have been made to them,” he said.

Justice Ong’injo ruled that the police were aware that Mr Farid had travelled out of Kenya when they filed the charge sheet in court.

“This court finds that the applicant’s fears are therefore valid that the respondents intend to execute a warrant of arrest which was issued when they failed to attend court and yet they had not been issued with notice either to attend to the investigating officer or attend court,” she said

The judge allowed the application to secure the suspects’ freedom and directed that a new charge sheet be prepared and lodged in court.

The suspects had sued Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

The case will be mentioned on August 31.


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