Embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko’s bid to block his prosecution over corruption allegations and seek bail following his dramatic arrest in Voi Friday flopped.
High Court Judge John Onyiengo last evening declined his request, noting that the governor did not prove his constitutional rights were being violated.
Through lawyer Cecil Miller, Mr Sonko sued the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) , the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Attorney General, Inspector General of Police, Independent Policing Oversight Authority and the director of investigations at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Mr Abdi Mohamud.
Mr Sonko was arrested following an order by DPP Noordin Haji directing that he be charged with corruption-related charges together with officials in his administration and several businesspeople.
Mr Sonko was nabbed in Voi and will be charged alongside seven officials in his administration and businesspeople over procurement irregularities worth Sh357 million.
At the same time, Mr Haji warned that any attempts to instigate social unrest and incite the public will be “countered with whole government response”.
“Members of the public are advised not to allow themselves to be used as human shields in the defence of these officials charged. Any person who engages in such behaviour will be dealt with by the whole of government and held individually liable,” he said.
Sonko’s lawyer, Mr Miller, protested his arrest over what he termed as crimes arising from mere conflict of interest.
He described the charges of unlawful acquisition of public property, money laundering and other economic crimes, which Mr Sonko is set to face, as ones emanating from biased and subjective investigations.
Even though he has already challenged the manner in which investigations against him were conducted in a separate suit set to be heard on Monday, his lawyer specifically asked the court on Friday to consider sparing him from being detained in police custody and being prosecuted.
“He is apprehensive that by the time the other case comes up for hearing on Monday, the sued parties would have already effected the protective orders he is seeking from the court,” said Mr Miller.
He later pleaded with the court to release him on reasonable bond terms pending his arraignment before a magistrate’s court.
“There is urgent need for this court to issue conservatory orders pending the hearing and determination of this matter; he is ready and willing to deposit security in court as directed,” said Mr Miller.
Mr Sonko has been trying for the past one week to stop his arrest and prosecution over allegations that he escaped from prison.
In a petition he filed before the Anti-Corruption division of the High Court, Mr Sonko said his previous convictions and sentence were quashed and he has records to prove the same.
“That the actions of the 1st respondent (EACC) to purport to summon the petitioner and investigate him on the allegations of failing to declare that he had earlier been charged and convicted amounts to double jeopardy,” he said in the application through lawyer Cecil Miller.
Mr Sonko said by the time the sentence was meted out against him, none of the investigative instruments — being the Constitution as well as the statues being relied on — had been enacted into law and, as such, cannot be applied retrospectively.
The DPP said elected officials who exercise executive authority must do so in accordance with the laws and policies of the government to ensure effective governance. “Anything contrary to this is not only perversion, but also criminal.”
Others to be arrested are county secretary Peter Mbugua, head of supply chain management Patrick Mwangangi and tender committee members Samuel Ndung’u, Edwin Kariuki, Lawrence Mwangi, Preston Miriti and senior clerical officers at the county Wambua Ndaka and Andrew Nyasiego.
Mr Haji also ordered the arrest of Mr Anthony Mwaura and Rose Njeri, who are directors of Hardi Enterprises Ltd and Toddy Civil Engineering Ltd.
He said the companies had been contracted by the county government for various services and are liable for money laundering to a tune of Sh24.1 million.
Others include Web Tribe Ltd, ROG Security Ltd, Danson Muchemi, Robert Muriithi and Zablon Onyango, who are directors of Web Tribe Ltd, and Fredrick Odhiambo, a partner of Yiro Enterprise, and Anthony Ombok, a director of ROG Security Ltd.
The DPP said the investigators were threatened as they looked into the matter, but his office will not be cowed.
“Investigations into these crimes have been challenging because of the repeated attempts by the accused to obstruct the course of the investigations by deploying intimidation tactics in addition to using goons to threaten law enforcement officials carrying out their constitutional mandates,” he said.
He added that there has been blatant, misguided attempts to intimidate, threaten and malign investigating officers and agencies.
“We shall not allow such dastardly acts to go on, and I have directed the law enforcement agencies to investigate any such attempts and upon establishment of evidence, additional charges shall be preferred against those perpetuating these acts,” he said.
Mr Haji said the officials from the Nairobi City government facilitated or benefited from irregular procurement and payments amounting to Sh357 million.
They will face, among other charges, conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, wilful failure to comply with the law relating to procurement, unlawful acquisition of public property, conflict of interest, and money laundering.