The Controversial World of Blogging: An Examination of the Blogger Charged with Seeking Money to Retract Fraud Allegations in Kilifi



On Monday, charges were filed against a blogger for engaging in fraudulent activities to receive money in exchange for removing an article that accused two individuals of defrauding Kilifi Governor Gideon Munga’ro of Sh150 million.

Stephen Sanga Barrawah, 38, allegedly obtained Sh60,000 from Francis Ngala Karabu by pretending he could pull the publication off the social media platform “Newsline,” which had mentioned the latter.

The accused pleaded not guilty before Shanzu Senior Resident Magistrate Robert Mbogo to the charge of obtaining money by false pretences, contrary to Section 313 of the Penal Code.

Prosecutor Nadrat Mazrui asked the court to allow it to amend the charge sheet to add a similar offence.

It was alleged that the Sh60,000 received was part of a Sh150,000 payment the blogger sought from the complaint.

Mbogo granted Barrawah a Sh100,000 bond with a surety of a similar amount or a Sh20,000 cash bail.

The court also allowed the prosecution’s application to amend the charge sheet, which it said should be presented in court on May 5, 2024, when the matter will be mentioned.

The accused allegedly approached Karabu claiming to be a local journalist with a dossier showing he colluded with one Loise Makena to defraud the Kilifi County government of over Sh150,000,000 through garbage collection.

He allegedly went further to demand Sh150,000 from Ngala so the dossier would not be published.

They, however, negotiated via video conference and settled on Sh80,000, which the complaint was to send in two installments—Sh60,000 and Sh20,000—to the accused’s M-Pesa account.

The complaint later proceeded to the Mtwapa Police Station to record his statement but was arrested and investigations and court proceedings were initiated.

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