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Court fines Mike Sonko over missing MRC leader Omar Mwamnuadzi

By Willis Oketch and Mkamburi Mwawasi
Updated Tuesday, June 13th 2017 at 11:15 GMT +3
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Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko leaves the Mombasa Law Court in September 2016. Photo: Kelvin Karani

Nairobi Senator Gideon Mbuvi Sonko Monday paid a court in Mombasa County Sh200,000 following the disappearance of separatist leader Omar Mwamnuadzi.

Mr Sonko was fined because he stood surety for Mr Mwamnuadzi, the founder and chairman of the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), who has been facing several charges, including illegal gun possession and incitement in Kwale and Mombasa courts, for which he has been on trial since November 2012.

When Mwamnuadzi was first detained following a violent police raid on his home in Kombani, Kwale County, on November 1, 2012, the court initially refused to free him on bond.

The court then set stringent terms for Mwamnuadzi and his wife Maimuna Hamisi Mwavombo but no one was willing to stand in for the Sh3 million bond.

They were freed three months into their detention when Sonko, who was the MP for Makadara at the time, stepped in to help. But since then, the State has slapped many new charges against Mwamnuadzi and other MRC leaders in Kwale and Mombasa.

From November 2015, Mwamnuadzi suddenly jumped bail and disappeared amid reports that he had been killed by State agents or had fled into exile in Tanzania.

Sonko was ordered to produce him or forfeit his two sureties but has been unable to do so.

Two months ago, the State applied to seize the surety and for the trial to proceed in the MRC leader's absence.

Both applications were granted Monday.

Mombasa Senior Principal Magistrate Francis Kyambia also ordered Sonko discharged from being a surety and to pay Sh100,000 for each file in which he had stood surety, or serve six months in jail in default.

Sonko's lawyer, Jared Magolo, said his client had failed to trace Mwamnuadzi, who is believed to have died or is hiding in a neighbouring country

The MRC leader also faced another charge of being in possession of a firearm.

The magistrate absolved Sonko from any blame over Mwamnuadzi's disappearance, noting that the senator had shown good behaviour by obeying court summons after the accused absconded.

Sonko had appeared in court several times after being summoned to show cause why he should not forfeit the surety.

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