For the better of March 12 and March 13, Kenyan airwaves and social media has been filled with the news of reporter Joshua Makori Ongechi's termination from Citizen TV.
Reports of his firing caused a storm on social media, with KOT pointing an accusing finger at the media house's senior staff, alleging foul play.
A cross-examination of views by netizens alleged that he had been terminated because of his religious beliefs, something NairobiLeo.co.ke has established to be false.
File image of Ex-Citizen TV reporter Makori Ongechi. |Photo| Courtesy|
An insider adept with the matters informed our news desk that Ongechi had been terminated for extorting news sources. He allegedly sought payments from individuals as to or not run their stories.
NairobiLeo.co.ke got hold of the journalist's termination letter, which revealed that he had been fired after a series of investigations into his previous work.
According to the letter, he was served a notice by management on February 8, 2021, followed by a disciplinary hearing on February 16, and March 9.
Apparently, Ongechi had compiled a video for the end of 2020 airing, in which he alleged that West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo had an affair with a minor.
The video was widely circulated online and the journalist had attempted to use it in extorting the governor.
Investigations conducted by the media house established that the story was fake, hence the summons.
In another incident, Ongechi is accused of allegedly acquiring a video of SFS Integrated Primary School in Katani, Machakos County, which he used to extort the school.
The video alleged that the institution was feeding students expired food.
Citizen TV got in contact with police officers from the are who revealed that the video had been used by other individuals to extort money from the institution.'
Pursuant to the findings in both cases, the highly placed source, stated that the station had no choice but to fire the reporter.
"In these two hearing meetings, you admitted that you prepared the video in issue and that you went to the school as alleged. The disciplinary committee conducted its own investigations, took consideration of your submissions at the hearings and your admission that in retrospect what you did was wrong," the letter reads in part.
"The committee found your actions to be contrary to the company policy and clear gross misconduct contrary to the Employment Act. In line with the committee's findings the management has decided to terminate your services summarily with immediate effect as provided for in law," the termination reads.
Citizen TV pledged to pay his salary up to the date of termination.
The source dispels the alleged rumours doing rounds online, and the unwarranted attack directed at the media house's senior management.