Nairobi gov­er­nor de­nies cor­rup­tion charges

The Punch - - WORLD NEWS -

Sonko, who was ar­rested on Fri­day, and his as­so­ciates are ac­cused of mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ing $3.5m of pub­lic funds.

Ac­cord­ing to Al Jazeera, nairobi Gov­er­nor Mike Sonko has pleaded not guilty to more than 30 charges of money laun­der­ing, re­ceiv­ing bribes and con­flict of in­ter­est af­ter ap­pear­ing in court un­der tight se­cu­rity.

Chief pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor no­ordin Haji has ac­cused Sonko, who was ar­rested on Fri­day, and his as­so­ciates of the mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of 357 mil­lion kenyan shillings ($3.5m).

Sonko pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges when he was ar­raigned be­fore an­ti­cor­rup­tion court mag­is­trate Dou­glas ogoti on Mon­day in a packed court se­cured by anti-riot po­lice.

“You know­ingly ac­quired prop­erty and money know­ing it was the pro­ceeds of crime,” a state pros­e­cu­tor read out one of the charges, to which Sonko replied: “not true.”

State prose­cu­tors also read out de­tails from Sonko’s bank ac­counts and sev­eral dates on which money was wired in from con­trac­tors who had won ten­ders in the city county.

Sonko was rep­re­sented in court by a high-pro­file team of kenyan lawyers, in­clud­ing the Se­nate Ma­jor­ity leader kipchumba Murkomen.

The gov­er­nor spent the week­end in jail af­ter his dra­matic ar­rest in south­ern Voi saw him scuf­fle with po­lice be­fore be­ing bun­dled in a heli­copter and flown to nairobi.

He said in a state­ment on Sun­day that his ar­rest was po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated and that he was a law-abid­ing cit­i­zen.

Sonko urged his sup­port­ers to avoid any ac­tions that “may threaten the peace”. Po­lice used tear gas to dis­perse hun­dreds of Sonko’s sup­port­ers when he was called into the anti-cor­rup­tion of­fice for ques­tion­ing in novem­ber.

“What i ask of you, my sup­port­ers, is to pray for me. Even all my haters, please pray for me,” the state­ment, writ­ten partly in English and partly in Swahili, read.

Born Gid­ion Mike Mbuvi, the gov­er­nor for­mally adopted the nick­name “Sonko” which is Swahili slang for a rich and flam­boy­ant per­son.

it was seen as a mav­er­ick move when, in 2017, the gov­ern­ing party chose him as its can­di­date for nairobi’s gu­ber­na­to­rial poll.

He has pre­vi­ously spent time in jail - for fail­ing to re­spect court dates - and has de­nied al­le­ga­tions of il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing drug traf­fick­ing.

He is beloved by poor kenyans for run­ning his per­son­ally branded fire trucks and am­bu­lances to as­sist peo­ple liv­ing in the slums.

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