Finnish Foundation for Media and Development which is known for its Finnish abbreviation VIKES has suffered a major blow after the High Court in Kenya dismissed its application which challenged the jurisdiction of the Kenya court to hear a case filed by the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ).
The High Court of Kenya has ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear the case filed by NUSOJ against VIKES, Finnish Church Aid (FCA) and their Somali collaborator Mohamed Ibrahim Nur over the unlawful and duplicitous use of NUSOJ’s name to solicit funding from the EU Delegation to Somalia which has been based in Nairobi.
While delivering the ruling, the presiding judge dismissed the VIKES, FCA and their Somali collaborator’s preliminary objection on the court's jurisdiction to determine the case. The court is now set to hear the case.
VIKES and its co-defendants had filed an objection at the High Court of Kenya, saying it had no jurisdiction to hear a case by an organisation based in Somalia after NUSOJ sued the two Finnish NGOs for deceptively exploiting its name.
Lawyers representing the national union of Somali journalists argued that VIKES and its Somali co-defendant are running away from justice in Kenya where they applied and obtained funding European Union Delegation to Somalia through “identity theft”.
Having lost this preliminary objection on the court's jurisdiction, VIKES and its co-dependents are facing looming defeat over misappropriating the union’s name to secure funding from the European Union.
NUSOJ blamed VIKES and FCA for stealing its name through feigned papers to solicit funding from EU and Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Stealing our union’s name has nothing to do with what they claim about human rights, media freedom and democracy. We are resolute in challenging them legally, and we will make sure that this is a good lesson for them not to do anything like this to Somali organisation” says Awil Mohamud, President of NUSOJ Supreme Council.
VIKES and FCA are the only European NGOs implicated in myriad of legal issues in the face of severe claims of covering up human rights abuses, enabling identity theft and using money to divide journalists’ fraternity in Somalia, raising distrusts over their dubious operations in the country.
Omar Nor, freelance Journalist based in Mogadishu, Somalia
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