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Nairobi Governor Sonko arrested over $3 million illegal tendering

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online
Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko during a past media briefing in Mombasa. Image: MALEMBA MKONGO

KENYA - Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was on Friday arrested over alleged illegal tendering, hours after being put on police radar.

Sleuths attached to Kenya's graft body arrested the controversial governor in Voi, around 300 KM South East of the capital Nairobi, police said.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), which handles corruption-related cases, confirmed Sonko's dramatic arrest, adding that he would be transferred to the capital.

"@EACCKenya confirms that Nairobi City County Governor Mike Sonko Mbuvi has been arrested while escaping arrest at a roadblock in Voi and is being transferred to Nairobi to face charges of corruption and economic crime," EACC reported.

Sources said Sonko, who is serving his first term, was nabbed while onboard Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) train en route Nairobi from Mombasa.

A chopper, police said, has since been deployed to fly him to Nairobi where he will be grilled and possibly arraigned in court.

Noordin Haji, Kenya's Director of Public Prosecution, had earlier on Friday insisted that he has 'sufficient' evidence to press charges against Sonko.

"I have ordered for the immediate arrest and arraignment of Sonko and other officials for the crimes of conflict of interest," he said, adding that Sonko will also face economic crimes and money laundering charges.

The Nairobi governor has been at loggerheads with EACC, accusing unnamed investors of 'witch-hunt and oppression'.

Sonko, Haji claimed, "has been intimidating sleuths investigating him making it difficult for us to charge him. He has been using goons."

EACC is accusing Sonko of illegal procurement of services worth $3 million (Sh317 million), money laundering among other economic crimes.

"The action of the accused showed a blatant disregard of the laws," Haji said in the statement, adding that his team is ready for a court battle.

Others jointly accused with Sonko are Peter Mbugua Kariuki (County Secretary), Patrick Mwangang'i (Head Supply Chain Management), Negotiation Tender Opening and Evaluation Committee members Samuel Ndung'u Mwangi, Edwin Kariuki Murimi, Lawrence Mwangi Mukuru, Preston Mwandiki Miriti.

The stylish governor believes that he's under siege from "cartels who I have blocked from defrauding the people of Nairobi."

Recently, he asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to help him fight land grabbers and cartels, accusing them of insubordination.

EACC is also pursuing the governor for allegedly sneaking out of jail in his teen days, a claim which he has often denied vehemently.

Sonko served as Makadara MP in Nairobi before being elected as the city's Senator in 2013. In 2017, he pulled a surprise by winning a gubernatorial seat.


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