CNN’s star Africa reporter Jeff Koinange left the network in a huff or rather was smoked out after several allegations spanning from sexual abuse to bribery in May, 2008. According to former confidante Marianne Briner, a Swiss businesswoman, Koinange faced several scandalous affairs at the network, with the “Delta Story” crowning his downfall.
The Delta Story, supposed to have crowned his career as a journalist, became the genesis of his downfall after the Nigerian government accused him of paying people to pose for CNN cameras over the oil kidnappings in the Niger Delta.
The report, aired in February 2007, showed Koinange being surrounded by masked gunmen in speedboats – described as rebels with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta – who later took him and his crew to a group of Filipinos who they were holding hostage.
There were also claims that Koinange was involved in a romantic relationship with Briner, whom she had promised publicity through CNN for a book she was writing about corruptįon in Kenya. Briner had co-authored a book over alleged corruption and murdèr among Kenya’s political elite.
Briner was a star witness in an inquiry into the murder of Dr Robert Ouko, who served Kenya as a foreign affairs minister. After a failed publicity story by Koinange, Briner decided to take revenge by exposing email correspondence between them, that floated new details about the Delta Story and a steamy love affair between them.
In one of the undated emails published on a now-defunct website, Koinange said “Of course we had to pay certain people to get the story [Delta Story]… You do not get such a story without bribing.”
But this is not what broke the camel’s back. Koinange and Briner met in a lobby of a hotel in London in February 2008 to “discuss the story about her book”. However, things turned out different, as Briner accused her of rape.
“I was still in the bathroom when he entered my room – not after 15 minutes as I had asked him, but after less than 5 minutes. Without any warning, he opened the sliding doors of my bathroom – pulled me out telling me “Don’t feel shy with me…”. And then the big shock: he was already nakèd …. he then pushed me on the bed and in seconds tried to enter me….. I struggled and asked him several times to stop – but he forced himself into me,” Brinner wrote on her blog.
In an email sent before the pair met, Koinange wrote: “You’ve been wined and dined by the highest and mightiest of all… and then little old me comes along and makes you go crazy.” Briner replied: “One day you will have to fulfill all my dreams and my promises – does that not scare you?”
However, Koinange denied the allegations, claiming that the claims were a result of the failed story. “Obviously she saw publicity wasn’t going to come as quickly as she wanted… It was a vindictive sort of thing that she wanted to expose our communications,” said Koinange in a previous interview.
Briner said: “I do not like to be cheated and I don’t like cheating – that’s when I fight back.”
She also said while she may have played a hand in Koinange’s departure from CNN, she cannot be held totally responsible for it: “My letter [to CNN] was the last nail in the coffin – but the coffin was already prepared.”
Seven months after leaving CNN, Koinange was hired as a news anchor by a new Kenyan TV station, K24. He would later join KTN where he was unceremoniously sacked after a rapè comment in his show, Jeff Koinange Live.
Currently, he is a news anchor with Citizen TV and a morning show presenter with Hot 96 Radio.
During one of his morning shows at Hot 96, Koinange said, “My boss called me and asked, Jeff, where are you? I said I was driving on the highway and he asked me pull off the highway. The boss says -there is too much crap. The Nigerians think you stage-managed a story and there is this woman. We can’t sustain this so we are going to have you let you go.”
By Business today