Governor Sonko loses attempt to block corruption probe

Ongoing construction of the new Dandora Stadium in Embakasi North Sub-County, which is expected to be completed in July this year in order to give the youth a chance to nurture their talent at the state-of-the-art sports facility. [File, Standard]

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko yesterday failed to stop the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) from investigating him over claims of corruption.

The agency is also investigating the governor over alleged past criminal records.

Sonko wanted the court to temporarily restrain the commission from prosecuting him, but Justice James Makau declined to issue the order.

Instead, Makau transferred the case to the anti-corruption division of the High Court.

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“He has come to the constitutional court claiming his rights have been violated, but I find that the issues he has raised touch on corruption, which is a preserve of the anti-corruption court. I, therefore, decline to issue any orders and direct the file be transferred to that division,” ruled Makau.

The county boss is fighting the agency’s probe into his alleged involvement in the irregular construction of Dandora Stadium at Sh350 million, alleged loss of Sh160 million in a garbage collection contract, and claims he faked his self-declaration form when he was running for the governorship in the 2017 General Election.

Sonko is alleged to have been charged before Mombasa Law Courts in 1997 for making a document without authority against the law.

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But the governor claimed, in his petition, that he was being persecuted for standing in the way of alleged land grabbers, who wanted to illegally acquire public land in Mugoya Estate, and for questioning the fraudulent transfer of Integrity Centre to the EACC.

Through lawyer Cecil Miller, he accused the commission’s director of investigations Abdi Mohamud of being the mastermind of his tribulations. He claimed Mohamud has initiated numerous malicious investigations against him due to his uncompromising stand in defending public property.

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Sonko alleged the commission failed to investigate complaints he had reported and instead chose to protect their cronies, relatives, friends and close associates involved in the land grabbing scandals.

“The investigators are abusing their offices by serving partisan interests, initiating frivolous, unjustified, unwarranted and baseless allegations and complaints against the governor to settle scores for his unwavering determination to expose land grabbers,” said Miller.

Sonko swore that his tribulations with the EACC started in 2014 when residents of Mugoya Estate reported to him that an employee of the county had grabbed public land and sold it to a businessman.

He swore that instead of taking up the investigations, the EACC director of investigation used the information to allocate the land to himself and his friend.

Sonko also alleged he was aware Mohamud colluded with other officials from the commission to pay an inflated Sh1.5 billion to acquire Integrity Centre, and that it was his questioning of the transaction that led to his troubles.

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Sonko has been fighting claims by EACC he was not truthful in a self-declaration form submitted to EACC in 2017 while vying for governorship.

Through a letter dated October 28, EACC claimed the county chief lied about never being convicted of any crime.

In the 1997 case in Mombasa, Sonko is said to have been fined Sh500,000 or in default spend six months in prison for failing to appear in previous hearings.

It is mandatory for those seeking public and State office to fill self-evaluation forms with EACC and they are certified by the Commissioner of Oaths, before getting cleared by the commission.

In a letter to Sonko, EACC chief executive Twalib Mbarak said the commission, pursuant to its constitution and mandate as set out in the Constitution, the EACC Act, 2012 and the Leadership and Integrity Act 2012, is investigating allegations Sonko provided false information to the commission in his self-declaration form dated March 9, 2017.

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Early September this year, the agency grilled Sonko over award of tenders for garbage collection during 2017/18 and 2018/19 fiscal years.

A report by the County Assembly Public Accounts Committee had revealed top officials at the City Hall’s Environment department could not account for more than Sh160 million paid to contracted garbage collectors.

The governor is also on the spot over suspected irregular payment of Sh196.8 million in the construction of Dandora Stadium. The Public Procurement Regulatory Authority, in an audit report on the Sh350 million contract, has questioned the tendering process and the standard of works at the stadium.

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Nairobi Governor Mike SonkoEACCCorruption probe