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EACC probes cash trail to Mike Sonko’s accounts

Monday September 16 2019

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko leaves EACC headquarters in Nairobi on September 3, 2019 after being questioned over garbage collection tenders. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

VINCENT ACHUKA
By VINCENT ACHUKA
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A trail of how money was moved into Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s private bank accounts from as early as 2017 is at the centre of investigations by the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission, the Nation can reveal.

The monies, which moved between some seven companies in a complex web, is a puzzle the EACC is now trying to unravel as initial investigations show that the transactions began way before Mr Sonko was elected as governor.

The EACC has already written to Equity Bank asking for statements of specific transactions made by ROG Security Limited, High Energy Petroleum and Arbab Auto Limited.

“Pursuant to miscellaneous application warrants no 1422 of 2019 and 2242 of 2019, we acknowledge receipts of the stated bank statements and some transaction documents requested. We further request you to provide us with the original documents for the stated transactions,” said EACC in a letter to Equity Bank dated July 29.

Other firms that have been roped into the investigations are Amaco Insurance, Hardi Enterprises, Yiro Enterprises and Jambo Pay, which, in July, was thrown out as the sole digital payments solutions provider for the county.

BRIBERY

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Detectives are now analysing bank statements of the seven companies in order to establish a direct link between any payments made to the governor’s accounts and whether there was some form of bribery.

At the centre of investigations are companies associated with Mr Otieno Ombok and Mr Antony Mwaura, the two individuals who are said to have directly wired money into Mr Sonko’s accounts through their companies or by themselves.

None of the companies owned by Mr Ombok, commonly referred to as Jamal, and who we have established is Sonko’s long-time friend, is contracted by the county.

However, some companies working for the county do businesses with his firms. Mr Ombok’s companies have however made deposits to a number of the governor’s accounts.

It is the complexity of directly linking Mr Ombok’s financial deposits into Mr Sonko’s accounts that has made it difficult for investigators to crack the case.

The Nation understands that a total of eight investigators have so far questioned both Mr Ombok and Mr Sonko.

GARBAGE COLLECTION

Bank statements show that on April 7, 2017, Mr Mwaura, through his company Toddy, made a transfer of Sh600,000 to Mr Sonko’s KCB account.

Then on April 19, four months before Mr Sonko became governor, Mr Mwaura made another cash deposit of Sh1 million to Mr Sonko’s KCB account.

A few weeks later, on May 5, 2017, he made another cash deposit of Sh1 million to the same account belonging to the governor.

On December 14, last year, Mr Mwaura, through Toddy Ltd, liquidated Sh80 million from his fixed deposit account.

On the same day, he moved Sh20 million to his other firm, Hardi Enterprise Limited. Hardi is the company that later won the tender to collect garbage on behalf of the county.

Three days later, from the proceeds of the monies from the fixed deposit account, Toddy Ltd transferred Sh3 million to Mr Sonko’s Equity account.

During questioning, Mr Mwaura told investigators that the deposits were for a piece of land in Kwale belonging to the governor that one of his companies had acquired way leave for a project.

MAVOKO PLOT

For Mr Ombok, he made a deposit of Sh600,000 to Mr Sonko’s KCB account on April 27, 2017 through his company Arbab.

It appears that several months later, after Mr Sonko assumed office, the two continued to transact.

On January 19, for instance, one of Mr Ombok’s companies, ROG enterprises, made deposits of Sh3 million to Mr Sonko’s DTB account.

During interrogation, Mr Ombok said the payment was for a Sh34 million plot in Mavoko that he had sold to the governor.

Although Arbab does not work directly for the county, investigators are keen to know the nature of business between the firm and Amaco since some of the deposits made into Mr Sonko’s accounts from Arbab were made at times close to when the company received money from Amaco.

Arbab is contracted by Amaco to repair vehicles.