Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was on Monday morning arraigned at Milimani Law Courts after spending the weekend in police custody.
Appearing before Anti-Corruption Court Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti, Sonko pleaded not guilty to more than 10 counts including conspiracy to commit an offense of corruption, failure to comply with procurement laws, conflict of interest, abuse of office and unlawful acquisition of public property. He was also charged with deceiving principal, money laundering and acquisition of proceeds of crime.
Sonko, who was arrested over irregular procurement that led to the loss of public funds amounting Sh357 million, is being represented by a team of 12 lawyers among them Cecil Miller Jnr., Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr, and Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo.
Others are Nelson Havi, George Kithi, Alphonse Mutinda, Osundwa Michael, Harrison Kinyanjui, Kwanga Mboya, and two other lawyers only identified as Mangolo and Philip.
Sonko’s defense team urged the court to release the accused on bail to enable him to seek medical attention, arguing that he developed chest complications and rib fractures during his dramatic arrest in Voi on Friday.
“I have with me a medical report by Dr. Esther Nafula Wekesa which states that he (Sonko) should be released on bail immediately since he was assaulted during arrest and has developed serious chest complications and possible rib fractures,” said lawyer Miller Jnr.
But the prosecution opposed Sonko’s bail application saying he may interfere with State witnesses and that he is wanted for assaulting police officers during his arrest. Prosecutor James Kihara also requested the court to bar the accused from accessing his office and order him to surrender all his passports.
The prosecutor further cited a 1997 case where Sonko allegedly escaped from Shimo La Tewa Prison, where he was being detained, after pretending that he needed treatment. However, Sonko’s lawyer Miller dismissed the claims by the prosecution, telling the court that if this was true, his client would not have been cleared to run for public office by various government agencies.
“The police, EACC cleared him to run as MP, Senator, and even Governor. If he was a prison escapee, how could this have happened? There is neither a pending case nor a warrant of arrest against Sonko,” said Miller.
“He was also awarded as a Good Deed Ambassador by UN…on account of all this, he cannot hide anywhere, he has no intention of going anywhere. Being a flight risk is allegation framed by those who arrested him…all his homes are guarded by Kenya police, how can he move away?”