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Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, to appear in court tomorrow

By Cyrus Ombati and Japheth Ogila | July 20th 2020 at 11:38:09 GMT +0300

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja (left) and his Makueni counterpart Mutula Kilonzo Jr (on phone) arrive at Killimani Police Station where the former penned statement over claims of incitement and breaching Covid-19 rules. [Photos: Standard]

Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja has resigned as the Chairperson of Senate Adhoc Committee on Covid-19 Response Committee after and apologised for breaching Covid-19 containment rules which police arrested him for Friday night.

The youthful Senator owned up to breaking that he broke Covid-19 containment rules on Friday when the curfew found him away from his home.

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“I take full responsibility for having flouted Covid-19 rules on Friday. I was outside my home after 9 pm and that is against the [Covid-19 containment] rules. It is regrettable but all of us make mistakes,” he told reporters

The lawmaker said that he was arrested and was neither charged nor booked upon his arrest but the officers told him to leave. He said that he would appear in court on Tuesday (tomorrow) to answer to charges of breaking Covid-19 rules.

On Saturday night, the senator was holed up at the home of a senior civil servant in Karen to evade arrest.

 Officers sought him to record a statement on claims of incitement and breaking curfew after his arrest in a Nairobi club late on Friday night.

This was after the senator was granted police bond on Saturday morning and asked to return later in the day for processing ahead of arraignment

And after he failed to show up at Kilimani Police Station, police said they tried to call him, but his phone was switched off. Detectives visited his house along Dennis Pritt Road where they found his car parked and his mobile phone in the house.

At that moment the officers suspected that he was hiding.

The officers camped at his house and insisted that he had to record a statement at Kilimani Police Station as required by the law.

Nairobi police boss Philip Ndolo told the Standard that Sakaja was supposed to record a statement regarding the incident at Ladies’ Lounge in Kilimani.

“He agreed to come back and complete this process, but now he cannot be reached. We still want him here,” Ndolo said.

Lawyer Cliff Ombeta said he was representing two employees of Ladies’ Lounge who were being held by police.

“Two women who work only during the day at the lounge are still in custody at Kilimani. They cannot be released because Sakaja cannot be found,” he said.

 “The senator has gone missing. He is required to report back at the station to be processed for court. Other innocent persons have been arrested as collateral so that he appears,”  the lawyer had said.

Efforts by Standard Digital to get a comment from Sakaja on his arrest had been futile. We also wanted him to confirm whether he was the individual seen in a video that circulated widely on social media asking for his mobile phone in a police cell.

The senator was arrested at Ladies  Louge after a confrontation with police who had been called following complaints that there were revellers inside the premises after curfew hours.

He was further accused of inciting some of those present to defy police orders to leave the bar. He also allegedly threatened to have all police officers at Kilimani transferred within 24 hours.

But later on, the lawmaker denied being in police custody.

“Never been arrested. Won’t be. Show me an OB Number,” he tweeted.

Ironically before he resigned, Sakaja chaired a Senate ad hoc committee on Covid-19 that collected views on the Pandemic Response and Management Bill, 2020.

The committee oversees measures taken by the national and county governments in addressing the spread and effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

On Friday night,  Sakaja was advised to leave the police station but he declined, prompting the police team leader to call her bosses who also failed to convince him to do so, police and witnesses said.


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