EACC now wants Sonko back in jail to complete ‘sentence’

Monday, November 18th, 2019 07:08 |
Sonko was arrested Friday mid-morning on a roadblock in Voi, Taita Taveta, County Police Commander, Saidi Kiprotich confirmed to People Daily. [PHOTO | FILE]

Sonko was arrested Friday mid-morning on a roadblock in Voi, Taita Taveta, County Police Commander, Saidi Kiprotich confirmed to People Daily. [PHOTO | FILE]

Controversial Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s leadership woes are piling, with reports that the anti-graft agency wants him back in jail to complete his sentence.   

People Daily has learnt that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission’s (EACC) move is based on the premise that the governor allegedly escaped jail in 1998, and should serve his full term. 

The governor, who is also under investigations over allegations of graft in his administration, is said to have escaped from Shimo La Tewa Prison in Mombasa on the night of April 16, 1998 to attend the burial of his mother Saumu Mukami.  He reportedly had been incarcerated for a year.

“This is such a straightforward thing that will entail him (Sonko), going back to jail to complete his sentence,” a source from the EACC who is privy to the intrigues told People Daily yesterday.

The embattled governor, who has not shied way from publicly declaring his  rather tainted past, has been grilled by EACC detectives on claims that he failed to disclose information about his “criminal” past and alleged pending cases when he was seeking clearance to vie for the governor seat in 2017.

On the run

Records at the Mombasa-based prison indicate a man called Gideon Mbuvi Kioko, who had been jailed for six months for jumping bail, is still on the run. 

 The man, suspected to be Sonko had been accused of forging documents with the intention of selling a piece of land belonging to a former police commissioner.

 In February 2000, the Mr. Kioko was sentenced to serve 12 months in prison for obtaining money under false pretence. He reportedly served for nine months. 

 He would then move to the High Court seeking a revision of the sentence over claims he was sick and Justice Samuel Oguk, now deceased, released him.

 “The applicant has been distinguished as HIV-positive patient and this has been confirmed by the medical evidence on record. I allow this application and hereby reduce the sentence that was imposed on the applicant to the period already served to ensure the applicant immediate release from prison unless otherwise lawfully held,”  reads court documents.

But Governor Sonko, in his defence, yesterday described the EACC probe as a witch-hunt given the agency has cleared him on several occasions—when he successfully vied for the Makadara parliamentary, Nairobi senator as well as the governor seats.

“The EACC has in the past two months summoned me five times and in these probes, they have found nothing and that is why they are now looking into my past,”  Sonko said through an aide.

Lose seat

In the past, the governor insists he has lost trust in the EACC, indicated he was acquitted by the court and, therefore, he has no case to answer regarding how he left prison. 

Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president Allen Gichuhi says the law stipulates actions and punishment for anyone who escapes prison.

“The people (who escape prison), can be taken back to jail but first, they will have to be taken to court because escaping prison is in itself an offence,” he said.

Should EACC succeed in pursuit to have the governor back in jail, the  county boss could automatically lose his seat.

In what could further deepen the Sonko’s woes, EACC detectives probing alleged loss of funds at City Hall summoned his entire Cabinet to record statements.

In a letter to County Secretary Leboo ole Morintat, EACC has asked all Executive Committee Members, including those who have been suspended, to appear before it between Tuesday and Friday.

EACC has been on Sonko’s case, having grilled him twice of corruption allegations and allegedly lying to public officers, although he has claimed that the probe, which could see him paraded in court, is a mere witch-hunt.

Those who are expected at the Integrity Centre are Winfred Gathangu (Finance), Larry Wambua (Agriculture), Dr Hitan Majavdia (Roads and Transport), Veska Kagongo (Water) and Allan Igambi (Tourism).

Also wanted to facilitate probe are, Lucia Mulwa (Education), Pauline Waititu (Devolution), Newtown Munene (ICT) and Charles Kerich (Planning) and Mohamed Dagane (Health). Kerich and Dagane are in suspension.

Facilitate probe

The letter to Morintat, who is also required to appear before EACC tomorrow, has also summoned head of CEC secretariat Joyce Kinyanjui, Peter Kamau (Chief of Staff) and Christine Ireri,  a former acting county attorney.

 “…kindly inform and facilitate the release of the following county officials who have served or are serving in these positions (as listed in the letter), for interview and statement recording at our offices located at Integrity Center,” reads the letter by EACC Deputy Director, Forensic Investigations John Lolkoloi dated November 15.

Sonko’s administration has been marked by drama, with those who fall out of favour with him sent packing.

Kerich, a former journalist and who was seen as City Hall’s “Mr Fix It” and Dagane were among 16 officials suspended by the governor in September following the Precious Talents Top Academy classroom collapse tragedy that killed eight pupils.

He was replaced by Pauline Kahiga, who was in May arrested by EACC after she allegedly refused to co-operate and provide crucial documents needed in an investigation on procurement at City Hall.

Dagane was replaced with a former Jubilee Party national election’s board vice chair Veska Kangogo. 

Kagongo was in the List of Shame which the President handed to Parliament in 2016 over claims of corruption and abuse of office over his role at NSSF, but was cleared.

The county officers, in what appears to be an elaborate move by the EACC to tighten their investigations against the governor, have been asked to carry their letters of appointment as well as memoranda, agenda and minutes of specific Cabinet meetings.

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