Why police are hunting down KTN’s investigative journalist

Here are the full details

In February, Mr Achuka raised a red flag on the security breach at JKIA after he got wind that a cargo operator identified as Jetways Aviation had been given access to the airside under controversial circumstances.

An airside is the area beyond security checks and passport and customs control in an airport terminal.

"Jetways has for the last one week been flying miraa to destinations in Somalia even before the setting up of its premises at the Kenya Airfreight Handling Ltd  (KAHL) centre is complete, potentially violating aviation rules,” he said in his article.

Jetways is licenced as a cargo airline and mail courier which operates from JKIA's cargo terminal. It has been running charter flights across East and Central Africa

The story prompted investigations into the matter with Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) announcing the closure of airside access to the Jetway facility.

"It has come to the notice of security services at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport that allegations of illegal and irregular activities are ongoing in a premises operated by Jetways Aviation at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

"On the basis of these serious allegations Kenya Airports Authority has temporarily closed airside access to the Jetway facility, to allow the security agencies to further investigate,” KAA said in a statement.

At the same time, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) announced that Jetways licence had been suspended until the investigations were over.

"KCAA has withheld the Regulated Agent Certificate until investigations are complete and operator found not to be in breach of security protocols. Should there be a violation, KCAA will take further punitive action against the operator and agent," KCAA said.

Now police have issued a summoned Achuka demanding that he appear before the Officer Commanding Station at JKIA.on Friday 16 March 2018.

The investigative journalist is accused of gaining access to the airport without clearance by the airport operator.

After the story was published, Mr Achuka went into hiding for fear of being arrested.

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) has denounced the police summon terming it as harassment.

“It is disheartening that the police continue to threaten the independence of journalists, under the guise of airport security. Vincent was covering an official function at the airport with the relevant security clearance.

"The protection of journalists on duty and more so, their sources is paramount and we, therefore, condemn the summons and call on police to withdraw them immediately,” Media Council of Kenya CEO David Omwoyo said.

MCK directed police to file any alleged misconduct before the Council as mandated by the law and practice.

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