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Tough times for Nairobi County as Sonko barred from office

NAIROBI
By Paul Ogemba | December 12th 2019

Nairobi City County has been thrown into a leadership crisis after Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko was barred from accessing his office following corruption charges of embezzling Sh381 million.

Anti-corruption Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti slapped the governor with tough conditions after releasing him on a cash bail of Sh15 million.

In the absence of a deputy governor who would have acted in the absence of Sonko, the situation is likely to ground some operations, especially those that requires the governor’s input.

“I order that the first accused (Sonko) be barred from accessing his office as the governor and if need be, he can only be escorted by the investigating officer to collect his belongings from the office,” ruled Mr Ogoti.

He further stopped Sonko from interfering with witnesses who are his junior staff at City Hall, inciting his supporters to demonstrate or commenting on the corruption case in any social media platform.

While relying on High Court decisions, which barred both Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and his Samburu counterpart Moses Lenolkulal from holding office after being charged with corruption offences, the magistrate said it is in the public interest that Sonko be barred from accessing his office.

However, unlike in the case of Kiambu and Samburu counties where justices Grace Ngenye and Mumbi Ngugi said there will be no vacuum, the situation is different in Nairobi where Sonko has no deputy. Polycarp Igathe resigned in January last year and the governor is yet to name his replacement.

Sonko was on Monday charged with 19 counts in two separate files in which the prosecution claimed he conspired with rogue businessmen and senior county government officials to embezzle over Sh381 million from the county funds.

The case will be mentioned on January 15, next year, to fix a hearing date.

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