Sonko fails to appear before Voi court, appeals bail terms
Nancy Gitonga and Reuben Mwambingu
The embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko yesterday petitioned the High Court seeking to quash orders barring him from accessing his office even as he failed to appear in a Voi court where he is facing charges of assaulting Coast police boss, citing health reasons.
His seven lawyers led by George Kithi, Cecil Miller and Jared Magolo presented a report on the governor’s health and pleaded for more time to allow him recover.
“My client is unwell and it is for this reason we are requesting for more time to allow him rest and recover,” Kithi told the court.
And in a certificate of urgency filed by lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, Sonko faulted the bail terms orders in his Sh380 million graft case that he escorted by the investigating officer to pick his belongings from City Hall.
Sonko asked the court to suspend enforcement of Milimani Anti-Corruption Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti’s order prohibiting him from accessing office or compelling him to have an escort to remove his personal items from his office.
He also wants an order to bar Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Beatrice Elachi from assuming, taking over or occupying his office as no vacancy has constitutionally occurred in the elected position.
“My arraignment cannot create a vacancy in the office of the Governor to warrant Ogoti to purport to direct me to proceed and remove my personal items from office as though I had ceased having the right to access such office,” he said.
The governor says barring him from office is unlawful and amounts to an order directing him to vacate the elected post.
According to him, Ogoti without lawful authority has unconstitutionally acted as an Election Court by purporting to shorten his tenure.
Further the county boss says Ogoti’s ruling amounts to the effective removal from the elected office of the Nairobi City County Governor.
Sonko has sued the Director of Public Prosecutions, Inspector General of Police, National Police Service, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Attorney General, Speaker of County Assembly and Anti-corruption magistrate Douglas Ogoti.
In the case Council of Governors, Law Society of Kenya and Senate have been listed as interested parties.
The petition comes days after on December 11, Ogoti ordered Sonko, who is facing a graft case, not to access his office. The directive was one of the conditions of his Sh15 million cash bail.
Sonko says Ogoti’s decision is unconstitutional and violates his right to the presumption of innocence.
The Governor further argues that at the time the order was made, he was in the process of appointing his deputy. Sonko has been without his deputy since January 2018 when Polycarp Igathe resigned.
Scene of crime
He wants the court to compel the DPP to designate what aspect of the county constitutes the scene of crime concerning the alleged corruption cases.
Sonko says it is evident that the DPP and National Police Service are misusing the criminal process either to settle the scores of some unknown persons with him, or make a dubious sinister political point in mounting the graft charges against him.
The governor says the “brutal and unlawful” manner and event of his arrest entitles the court to award him damages.
And in Voi, a report signed by Dr Esther Nafula Wekesa, a Palliative Care and Pain Management Specialist, indicates that Sonko continues to be on bed rest with close blood pressure monitoring and that his medication is being adjusted accordingly.
Senior Resident Magistrate Fredrick Nyakundi said he has considered the situation and granted Sonko more days to appear for plea taking on January 21, 2020.
However, he said Sonko must appear at Voi Police Station for processing of his finger prints before January 21 and further that the defence be served with charge sheets against their client immediately.
Meanwhile, Voi Law Courts remained a restricted area for the better of yesterday morning as a contingent of tens of National Police Service officers drawn from different units including Kenya Prisons and Anti-riot Police kept vigilant guard to keep off crowds and avert possible riots by the flamboyant politician’s supporters.