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'Broke' Sonko wants court to give him back Sh15m paid as cash bail

By Paul Ogemba | September 14th 2021

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at the Milimani Law Courts in March during the mention of his corruption case. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko has claimed that he is broke and wants the court to allow him access Sh15 million he deposited as cash bail when he was charged with corruption.

The ex-governor in an application filed at the High Court said he cannot take care of his needs including paying school fees for his children since his accounts were frozen and wants to be allowed to substitute the cash bail with other assets as security to save him from a financial meltdown.

“I am asking the court to be allowed to deposit security in place of the cash bail to enable me access the money for purposes of attending to my health, paying school fees for my children, pay my lawyers and cater for my daily needs and those of my family,” said Sonko.

According to the former county chief, he has no other source of income to support his family and that he has secured three high-end vehicles worth Sh30.4 million which he wants to surrender to court as securities in place of the cash bail.

His lawyer Philip Kaingu submitted that the law allows an accused person to either deposit cash bail or security in a criminal case and that no prejudice will be suffered by the prosecution if he is refunded the Sh15 million.

“The corruption cases against him have proceeded well with more than 10 witnesses which means there is no risk of him absconding court. It is in the interest that he be allowed to substitute the cash bail to enable him fend for his family,” said Kaingu.

Mike Sonko arrives at Milimani Law Court. June 7, 2021. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Sonko was charged in December 2019 with conspiring with rogue businessmen and senior county officials to embezzle millions of shillings from the Nairobi County, according to the prosecution.

Prosecutors alleged that Sonko received kickbacks into his personal accounts totalling Sh39 million as reward for awarding multi-million shillings contracts to companies that traded with his government.

He was charged in three different counts with the charges ranging from conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, conflict of interest, money laundering and acquisition of proceeds of crime.

The charges stated that between May 24, 2018, and March 28, 2019, Sonko jointly conspired with others to commit an offence of corruption namely embezzlement of public funds in the sum of Sh357,390,229 from Nairobi County Government.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on a cash bail of Sh15 million or the alternative of bond and surety worth Sh30 million.

In his affidavit, Sonko said he personally raised Sh5 million for the cash bail while his friends and family raised the other Sh10 million to secure his release. He also dismissed claims that the Sh10 million was paid by Nairobi deputy governor Ann Kananu, stating that she only acted as the treasurer to collect the money from friends.

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