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EACC summons Sonko’s ministers in corruption probe

Saturday November 16 2019

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko gestures at his supporters while he was at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters, in Nairobi, for questioning on November 5, 2019. His county executive committee members have been summoned over investigations into corruption. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

COLLINS OMULO
By COLLINS OMULO
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VINCENT ACHUKA
By VINCENT ACHUKA
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The drama surrounding the leadership of Nairobi County has intensified after the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) summoned 15 current and former top officials for questioning.

Those asked to present themselves include county executive committee members.

This comes as ousted Jubilee Majority Leader in the County Assembly Abdi Guyo lost his second bid to get back at his friend-turned-foe, Governor Mike Sonko, after a court struck out an application opposing the new party leadership in the House.

Securing the support of ward reps is crucial for governors in executing their mandate. This is why Governor Sonko has forged a new alliance with Speaker Beatrice Elachi after falling out with Mr Guyo.

MEMBERS' DISCRETION

But since losing the Majority Leader’s post, Mr Guyo, the Spring Valley/Matopeni MCA, has waged an onslaught against the governor, blaming him for his woes and for the chaos that has rocked the assembly.

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On Friday, Justice Onesmus Makau dealt Mr Guyo a big blow when he struck out a preliminary objection, saying majority and minority political parties in the county assembly are entitled to nominate their representatives at their discretion.

This means Dandora III MCA Charles Thuo and his Ziwani Kariokor counterpart Millicent Mugadi – who were on Wednesday endorsed by Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju – will remain majority leader and deputy majority leader, respectively.

But even as Governor Sonko celebrates his partial victory over the county assembly matters, his battle with the EACC seems to have intensified after the anti-graft agency directed 15 of his present and past executives and senior county officials to record statements from Tuesday next week.

MALICE

Mr Sonko is accusing the EACC of witch-hunt, particularly accusing the commission’s director of investigations Abdi Mohamud of masterminding his tribulations.

“Mohamud, his associates and colleagues at EACC have unreasonably initiated malicious investigations against the governor due to his uncompromising zeal in his war against the grabbing and fraudulent transfer of public properties within Nairobi County,” Mr Sonko says in a suit filed in court seeking to stop the commission from investigating him.

“The investigators are abusing their offices by serving partisan interests, initiating frivolous, unjustified, unwarranted and baseless allegations and complaints against the governor to settle scores for his unwavering determination to expose land grabbers,” said the governor in a sworn affidavit through lawyer Cecil Miller.

The EACC has written to the Nairobi County government seeking additional documents for certain transactions and asked it to release some officials for questioning.

INCONVENIENCE

Among those asked to appear at the Integrity Centre are Ms Joyce Kinyanjui, Mr Samuel Kinyanjui, Mr Sonko’s chief of staff Peter Kamau, deputy county secretary Leboo olé Morintat, acting county attorney Christine Ireri and Finance executive Winfred Gathangu.

Also set to appear are ministers Larry Wambua (Agriculture), Mohamed Dagane (Health), Hitan Majevdia (Transport) and suspended Lands executive Charles Kerich.

“Kindly inform and facilitate the release of the following county officials who have served or are still serving in these positions for interview and statement recording at our offices located at Integrity Centre, Nairobi, on the dates and time indicated below,” Mr John Lolkoloi, the deputy director Forensic Investigations, said in a letter sent to the county government on Friday.

In a quick rejoinder, Mr Sonko said the officials would not be available on Tuesday.

“Your notice is too short and not convenient since prior arrangements to comply are not feasible,” Mr Sonko said.

“All officials are already engaged out of Nairobi in a budget committee meeting. Therefore, the notice is untenable for compliance.”

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