An anti-corruption court in Nairobi on Wednesday ordered the release of Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko from Kamiti prison amid fears that he might be re-arrested.
In a ruling issued by Magistrate Douglas Ogoti, the court ordered that Sonko should be set free on a Sh30 million bond, a surety of the same amount or a cash bail of Sh15 million.
But despite the prosecution’s request that the county boss be held at Kamiti while awaiting the processing of his bail or bond, the magistrate ruled that he should be taken to hospital due to his ill-health.
“The accused person should be freed immediately and the doctors’ services be allowed,” said Mr Ogoti.
The prosecution had insisted that Sonko’s lawyers had provided conflicting reports from two separate doctors regarding his health.
However, the magistrate told the defence to ensure that the governor gets the kind of treatment that he requires.
Before issuing this directive, the court was treated to a light moment when Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, while pleading with the court to shield Sonko from any imminent arrest, indicated that he had appeared in court against his doctor’s advice.
He said the governor’s legal team forced him to appear before court for the bond ruling.
“Why should you force him while he is sick? So you feared that he would run away? You didn’t have to disturb a sick person in hospital. I still would have gone ahead and given directions, so your fears were unfounded,” Mr Ogoti said.
With the ruling, Sonko joins governors Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) and Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu) in the list of county bosses barred from accessing their offices.
The court categorically asked Sonko to keep off his offices unless he is accompanied by an investigating officer or any authorised person – and only to pick up his personal belongings.
And, while he is known for making posts on social media, the court banned him from commenting about the case. He was also asked to ensure his supporters maintain peace.
Seven of his co-accused have been freed on a Sh3 million bond, a surety of a similar amount or cash bail of the same amount.
Five other accused persons have been granted a Sh30 million bond or Sh10 million cash bail. All accused persons were ordered to deposit their passports and any other travel documents in court. They were also barred from approaching any witnesses.