Sonko to spend weekend in cell after dramatic arrest
By Nancy Gitonga and Zaddock Angira
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko Mbuvi will spend the weekend in police custody after a Nairobi court denied him bail.
Sonko was arrested on Fridaay morning in Voi and airlifted to Nairobi where he was arraigned.
High Court judge, Justice John Onyiengo denied Sonko bail to allow the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji time to reply to the application by Sonko that his rights had been violated through the arrest by EACC officials.
Onyiengo subsequently ordered the application to be served upon the DPP by 8am on Monday and to be heard at 9am.
Governor Sonko had earlier also applied for an anticipatory bail but the court refused to grant one saying the arrest is a legal process.
Haji had earlier in the day explained that the arrest followed a comprehensive investigations and that his office found sufficient evidence to warrant prosecution.
He said the investigations into the crimes had been challenging because of the repeated attempts by the Governor 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.”
Other officers from Nairobi County who are said to have facilitated or benefitted from the irregular procurement and payments of the Sh357.39 million include County Secretary Peter |Mbugua, Head of Supply Chain Management Patrick Mwangangi, Negotiation, Tender Opening and Evaluation Committe members Edwin Kariuki, Lawrence Mwangi, Preston Mwandiki and Clerical officers Wambua Ndaka and Andrew Nyasiego.
Other private person and business entities include the Director of Hardy Entetrprises and Toddy Civil Engineering Anthony Nganga and his partner Rose Njeri Nganga, Anthony Otieno Ombok, Arbab Auto Limited, ROG Security Ltd, High Energy Petroleum Limited, Web Tribe Limited and its two directors Danson Muchemi and Robert Muriithi Muna among others.
The suspects are to face the charges of conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, willful failure to comply with law relating to procurement, conflict of interest, abuse of office, and unlawful acquisition of public property.
Other charges are deceiving principal, money laundering, and acquisition of proceeds of crime.
“The decision to charge is based on the evidence that is available to the DPP at the time the decision is made,” the DPP said.
He however warned that they would not tolerate attempts to intimidate investigating officers.
“We shall not allow such dastardly acts to go on and l have directed the law enforcement agencies to investigate any such attempts and upon establishment of evidence additional charges shall be preferred against those perpetuating these acts,” he warned.
Few hours after the DPP gave the directives, Governor Sonko was dramatically arrested at Ndii area in Voi Sub-county along Nairobi-Mombasa Highway while on the run to Mombasa hours after arrest warrant was issued against him by the DPP's office.
Police sources said the flashy governor was arrested in his four-vehicle convoy at a roadblock in Voi while driving to Mombasa.
He was in the company of his wife a while his bodyguards who were also in the convoy watched helplessly as he was bundled into a waiting police car.
The Governor was rushed to Voi Railway Police Station as senior police officers went into an emergency meeting to deliberate on the best way to take him to Nairobi.
In a tweet, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) confirmed the arrest of the Governor at the Voi road block and said he would be transferred to Nairobi to face charges of corruption and economic crimes.
Earlier on, a covert intelligence-led operation was conducted to establish the whereabouts of the Governor after false reports implied he might be aboard the inter-county Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
“The report that he was in SGR was a red herring. The information was to fool and lead us to the wrong direction,” the source disclosed.
The multi-agency operation brought together officers from the Police, Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) detectives and officials from National Intelligence Service.
Coast Regional Police boss, Rashid Yakub and Taita-Taveta County Commander, Saidi Kiprotich, were among senior officials involved in the operation.
Confidential reports say the idea of using Mombasa-Nairobi SGR train to take Sonko back to the city was floated but rejected due to the nightmarish scenario on how to move such a high-profile individual inside a crowded passenger train. There was also the other challenge of disembarking when he arrives at Nairobi terminus.
It was decided airlifting him was the best option. Calls were made to Nairobi and a police chopper was dispatched to Ikanga Airstrip on the outskirts of Voi town.
Sonko was transferred into a police car and driven quietly through the Voi Central Business District (CBD) under heavy security.
It was at the deserted airstrip that gravity of his arrest dawned on the beleaguered governor. He kicked up a ruckus and adamantly refused to board the plane. A fifteen-minute stand-off between him, his body guards and police ensued.
Fists flew, curses erupted and tempers flared. In the melee, the Governor had his white T-shirt torn and he lost his right shoe.
The fierce pull-and-shove almost escalated into a fist-fight after one of his bodyguards tried to cling to the governor to prevent him from boarding the plane. He was roughed up by the police and had to flee to a waiting car.
Left alone, the police surrounded the isolated Sonko and handcuffed him. Moments later, a subdued Mike Sonko was frog-marched into the waiting plane which took off shortly afterwards.
Journalists who were at the scene had a rough time as they were stoned by Sonko’s bodyguards who did not want them to take pictures of the incident.