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Low-cost schools chain sues Knut for defamation

Learners in one of Bridge’s classrooms. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL
Learners in one of Bridge’s classrooms. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL 

Bridge International Academies Limited has sued Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and secretary-general Wilson Sossion for defamation, arguing that they published offensive and untrue information about the chain of schools in reports and letters to various education stakeholders.

The chain has asked the High Court to issue an award for damages caused by Knut and Mr Sossion’s statements as well as bar them from further defaming Bridge International Academies.

Mr Sossion in his response argues that his claims on Bridge International reaping profits without providing quality education were fair comments that were well researched by Knut and global lobby Education International (EI).

Knut and EI published a damning report on Bridge International Academies in December last year, which has now become the centre of a heated battle between Mr Sossion and the chain.

Mr Sossion adds that the chain has also been under siege in other countries for allegedly profiting from low quality education, citing Uganda and Liberia.

But Bridge now argues that Mr Sossion is damaging its reputable name to enhance his popularity and grow Knut’s membership base.

“The defamatory statements by the defendants continue to damage Bridge International Academies’ international social enterprise and business.

Whilst Mr Sossion has been keen on portraying his defamatory statements as well researched and of best intentions, the words and actions are clearly driven by forces greater than him,” the chain of schools says.

Bridge now holds that it is working closely with the Ministry of Education to ensure that its academies are in compliance with all legal requirements, and that EI’s studies on the chain of schools were done clandestinely to serve selfish interests.

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