Mindanao Times

Kenya prosecutor orders arrest of governor for economic crimes

- France-Presse

KENYA’S chief prosecutor has ordered the arrest of the governor of the capital Nairobi for economic crimes, the latest top official to come under scrutiny in a bid to crack down on corruption.

Governor Mike Sonko and other country officials are accused by public prosecutor Noordin Haji of having benefited from irregular procuremen­t and payments of $3.5 million (3.1 million euros).

Haji said he had sufficient evidence to prosecute Sonko and other officials for “unlawful acquisitio­n of public property, money laundering and other economic crimes.”

“I have therefore orJAPANESE dered for the immediate arrest and arraignmen­t in court of the Governor of Nairobi Hon. Mike Mbuvi Sonko and other persons,” Haji said in a statement.

It was seen as a maverick

move when, in 2017, the ruling party chose populist Mike Sonko as its candidate for Nairobi’s gubernator­ial poll, a controvers­ial politician who has spent time in jail and has had to deny allegation­s of illegal activities, including drug traffickin­g.

Haji said his investigat­ion into Sonko and his officials had been challengin­g “because of the repeated attempts by the accused to obstruct the course of the investigat­ions by deploying intimidati­on tactics in addition to using goons to threaten law enforcemen­t officials carrying out their constituti­onal mandates.”

Since his election, Sonko has chosen to operate from his rural home in Machakos, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) southeast of Nairobi.

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

He is known for wearing expensive gold jewelry, bright golden shoes and recently drew criticism for displaying his opulent dining room on social media.

Kenya has for decades battled the scourge of corruption, and President Uhuru Kenyatta -- like many presidents before him -- has vowed to combat graft.

Dozens of top executives and government officials have been charged since Kenyatta’s 2017 re-election, including sitting Finance Minister Henry Rotich who was in July charged over an alleged multi-million dollar corruption scandal.Agence

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