Sonko terms fraud claims intimidation over his NMS stance
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko yesterday defended himself over claims of possible fraud in the purchase of a multi-million-shilling building belonging to the Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is reportedly investigating the deal, in which Sonko confirmed he has paid Sh144 million, and has requested the sale be halted pending the probe.
But in a phone interview with People Daily yesterday Sonko said the alleged probe was malicious and could be a move to intimidate him to go slow on some political and legal decisions he has taken in the last few weeks after the Nairobi Metropolitan Service took over some key city functions.
“I am the legal buyer of land LR. 209/6507 (the property in question). I had entered into an agreement to lease the property in May 22, 2017 for use as office space,” Sonko said in a statement to newsrooms.
The property, located on Matumbato Road, Upper Hill, Nairobi, Sonko said, served as his campaign centre during the 2017 governor’s campaign and also as tallying centre for Jubilee Party, for the Nairobi electoral seats.
While he was a tenant, in December 2017 and December 2018 under tender No. KRSBRS/013/PLM.2017 and tender No.KRSRBS/08/PLM.2018, the Pension Trustees, he said, advertised for an open tender to buy parcels of the property.
“Both bids were non-responsive,” he said.
In February 2019, under Tender No. KRSRBS/02/PLM.2019, Sonko said the Trustees placed another open tender, which he bid successfully.
“Following the third tender advert, we entered into an agreement with the Trustees to purchase two portions of the land for Sh498.5 million on April 30, 2019.
We have since paid Sh144.6 million as part payment in accordance to the contract,” the governor said.
The transactions, he said were done from his DTB account to Cooperative Bank accounts of the Pension Scheme Trustees through an RTGS while some of the amounts were paid from his lawyer’s accounts.
“The sources of this money can be provided,” he said, and faulted EACC for making the reports yet they were to contact him or his lawyers “in their quest to find the truth about the transaction if indeed there is an ongoing inquiry”.
“However, I believe that the reports and alleged probe is malicious and may be a move to intimidate me to go slow on some of political and legal decisions I have taken in the last few weeks, specifically, my position on the transfer of functions to the NMS and refusal to assent to the Supplementary Appropriations Bill, 2020 into law,” said Sonko.