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Sonko goes to court for hearing but ends up in cells

By | February 25th 2011 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

By Willis Oketch

Allegations of fraud against Makadara MP Gideon Mbuvi alias Sonko seem to be coming out of police lockers in rapid sequence.

With a case in the Kibera Law Courts where he is charged with fraudulently obtaining Sh18 million, and another in Mombasa where an accused in a Sh5 million fraud case mentioned him as an accomplice, the MP appeared to have enough baggage already.

The MP is also battling claims by Internal Security Minister George Saitoti in Parliament that he is linked to drug trafficking. The police have since found no evidence linking the MP to drugs.

But yesterday the MP was charged with a new fraud case. He was blocked from leaving a Mombasa court. He from leaving a Mombasa court. He had gone there for the hearing of a case in which he is alleged to have been an accomplice, and charged with the new count.

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He is accused of obtaining Sh1 million from Najma Ali Ahmed in 2009 by claiming he could sell a piece of land to her. The MP is accused of executing the fraud scheme inside the offices of a law firm in Mombasa.

Sonko came to court with a group of supporters, and police may have sensed it would be difficult to arrest him if he left with them.

Ten police offices in plainclothes entered the court, as the first case proceeded, and pretended to be ordinary members of the public. They made their way through the court audience, to stand near the MP.

Makadara MP, Gideon Mbuvi alias Sonko was arraigned in a Mombasa court to face the charge of obtaining money fraudulently. [PHOTO: MAARUFU MOHAMED/STANDARD]

When Mombasa Chief Magistrate Rosemele Mutoka said she would rule in the afternoon in the first case, Sonko found his way blocked. The police officers told him he should not leave the court because he had another case coming up.

Sonko looked transfixed as the court clerk pulled out another file. He read out his name and told him he was accused of defrauding Ms Ahmed on November 13, 2009, inside the offices of Martin Tindi and Company Advocates in Mombasa.

In the new case, the court papers said Sonko also goes by another alias-Musa.

Released on bail

Sonko denied the charges. Two lawyers representing him told the court he should be released on bail, as there was no risk of him absconding.

Ms Mutoka released the MP on Sh900, 000 bond, with similar surety.

But the drama did not end, as a group was demonstrating outside the Mombasa Law Courts in support of Sonko. A contingent of police arrived at the scene and stopped the demonstrators from marching into the law courts.

A number of Sonko supporters who kept shouting had their clothes stained with a red liquid, which some said was goat blood.

A senior police officer leading the squad that confronted the mob said the MP’s supporters wanted to claim that they were injured or beaten up if fracas broke out.

"They wanted to provoke us so that we would chase them around. They would then claim we injured them," the officer said.

Sonko had first come to court to defend himself against allegations by Ruwa Mwarua, who is charged with fraud. Mwarua, in his defence, had told the court the Makadara MP was the architect of the scam.

Before confessing to the court, Mwarau, according to the magistrate, had requested an assurance he would get police protection because he feared he would be killed if he made the revelations.

After pleading innocent to the charges, Sonko was whisked away by court orderlies into the cells where the MP spent the afternoon until arrangements were made for his release.

Controversy seems to be seeking the youthful MP who was elected to Parliament last year, in a by-election in the city constituency.

Defrauding woman

He also faces another case in the Kibera Law Courts where he is accused of defrauding a woman of Sh18 million. Last week, the Kibera court was told witnesses in the case could not be traced.

The court was told that the MP’s accuser had relocated to India, and that a CID officer who investigated the case had since died.

Outside the court, the MP is also faced with claims that he is linked to drug trafficking.

Internal Security Minister George Saitoti tabled a report in Parliament three months ago in which Sonko is listed as one of the high profile persons being probed over links to trade in narcotics. The claim followed a dossier US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger handed over to Government.

Prof Saitoti has since tabled another police report in the House in which the Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere says there is no evidence to link Sonko and the other three MPs to drug trafficking.


THE STANDARD INSIDER

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