Fresh details smear Sonko in garbage collection probe

Monday, September 9th, 2019 12:00 |
Nairobi County Governor Mike Sonko

Fresh details have emerged in the ongoing graft probe against Nairobi County Governor Mike Sonko with key companies that have been operational in the county since 2013 being roped in as detectives seeks to build a case on the county chief.

Sonko, who last week spent 10 hours at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, is also being probed over graft claims related to multimillion shilling garbage tenders at City Hall and which reported to have pushed him to consider picking a deputy governor who will take charge should he be paraded in court.

He is accused of allegedly receiving Sh20 million kickbacks from a lucrative garbage collection contract in his administration during the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 financial years, with Anthony Otieno Ombok alias Jamal, being said to be the fulcrum on which the alleged graft rotated.

Detectives are now mopping through mountains of documents to determine whether Sonko received kickbacks from, Jambopay, Amaco Insurance, Hardi Enterprises Ltd and Toddy Civil Engineering Ltd, ROG Security Ltd and Arbab Auto Care Ltd  both owned by Jamal.

To fill in the glaring dots in the probe, detectives are relying on Arbab Company whose director is Jamal, a person said to have wired money directly into Sonko’s account, when he was senator.

Alleged kickbacks

Bank statements obtained by EACC show that Arbab and ROG, received payments from both Amaco Insurance, which is associated with Deputy President William Ruto as well as Jambopay which had been contracted for e-revenue collection service by the county.

According to documents, the flamboyant governor received Sh3.6 million from Toddy Civil Engineering Company which was on September 19, 2018 awarded a Sh426 million tender for a water project in Kwale by the Ministry of Water.

On April 19, 2017, Sonko received Sh600,000 from construction company Toddy Ltd, Sh1 million on April 19, another Sh1 million May 5, and another Sh1 million on May 17 which was given to him into instalments.

The investigators intimated that garbage collection contracts and payments were irregularly made specifically for a period spanning two financial years, 2017/18 and 2018/19, and with Sonko being accused of receiving kickbacks from the companies, claims which he has rubbished.

According to EACC, Sh162,092,407 was paid to two firms for collecting garbage in areas they had not been prequalified.

This is part of the Sh202,996,053 payments to 11 firms flagged by the Nairobi County Assembly Public Accounts Committee allegedly paid without supporting payment vouchers.

Toddy Ltd is owned by Nairobi businessman Anthony Mwaura, who also owns Hardi that does garbage collection for the county, in tenders that are subject of the wide-scale probe.

Money for kickbacks

Detectives believe this might have been a bribe although Sonko has maintained that the money was a payment the purchase of land in Kwale where Toddy had won a tender and even produced a title deed for the said land in Kwale/Golini which measures 1.7 hectares.

Sonko also said Toddy had started making payment for the said land before he became governor as he sought to rebut claims that the money was kickbacks from companies which are doing business with the county. 

Last week after he appeared before the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) over corruption claims and failure remit Sh4.5 billion in his administration, Sonko said the kickback claims were lies.

“All these are mere allegations. I will never touch a coin from the public coffers,” Sonko told reporters.

But more documents which in the hands of EACC sleuths show the flashy county chief received money from Arbab.

On July 29, EACC wrote to the chief executive officer of Equity Bank requesting documents relating to the financial operations of Hardi in relation to transaction done between it and ROG security, High Energy Petroleum, Arbab Auto Care amounting to Sh40 million.

Establish links

Further, detectives requested for details regarding transaction between Toddy and Sonko amounting to Sh3 million and also been the firm and ROG security amounting to Sh8 million.

Detectives are probing operations of Amaco, which had a running contract since 2013 to insure Nairobi County government vehicles because after it was paid nearly 100 million, it deposited more than Sh20 million to Arbab Auto Care Ltd.

Arbab Auto Care Ltd is a garage located on Kangundo Road where the county cars are repaired, and which is reported to have a contract with the insurer dating June 30, 2016.

The transfers was done in installments of Sh10.7 million, Sh7.5 million and Sh5.3 million to Arbab whose director Jamal’s name is featuring in almost every deal in which EACC is probing.

Arbab in return wired some money into Sonko’s account but the county chief, according to sources, told detectives that is was payment for the land in Mavoko that he had sold to Jamal, and which he claimed to have been originally owned by former Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu

Link to bribery

JamboPay, which terminated is services with City Hall in June this year, and which has had a frosty relationship with the governor, wired money into Jamal’s company, ROG, and detectives are trying to establish whether there is any link to bribery allegations.

When he appeared before at the Integrity Centre Sonko tabled before detectives bank statements dating April 2017, five months before he was elected governor showing he received money from Toddy and Arbab.

Sources say the probe is in its final stages before the file is forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji for approval. Should the DPP give a nod to his prosecution, Sonko will be required to stay out of office until the case is heard and concluded. 

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