Union officials demanded bribe to end strike, Sonko tells court

Thursday September 27 2018

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko testifies on September 27, 2018 in a case in which two union officials are accused of demanding a bribe of Sh1 million from him in order to call off a workers’ strike last year. PHOTO | RICHARD MUNGUTI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has told a Nairobi court how two union officials demanded a bribe of Sh1 million from him in order to call off a workers’ strike last year.

Testifying before the anti-corruption court in Milimani on Thursday, Mr Sonko said the two officials demanded the money as a condition for calling off the strike, which had threatened to disrupt the services at City Hall.

Mr Sonko told Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti that Mr Benson Olianga Oriaro, the union’s secretary-general and his deputy John Bernard Muriuki, issued the strike notice in a letter dated October 10, 2017.

The strike was called less than two months after he came into office, he said.

REFUSED TO GIVE MONEY

The governor told the court that he refused to give the money but asked for time so that he could consult and see how the workers were going to be paid their September 2017salaries.

Mr Sonko said he had just taken over from his predecessor, Dr Evans Kidero, and discovered that there were serious issues affecting the county and its workers.

REPORTED TO EACC

Mr Sonko said he reported the matter to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

The commission, he added, sent its officers with treated money which he was to give to the union officials.

While being cross examined by lawyers of the accused, Mr Sonko said he was serious about the fight against corruption in the county.

Mr Oriaro and Muriuki are accused of soliciting for the bribe between 16 and 17 October, 2017 in Nairobi.

The two were arrested at Hamsa House along Tom Mboya Street where the union’s office is located.

But the accused claimed that they were set up, adding that the move was meant to intimidate the union not to proceed with the planned strike.

They are out on Sh200,000 cash bail each.

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