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Sonko seeks to stop Sh357m graft case   

Wednesday March 18 2020
M.Sonko

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at the Milimani Anti-Corruption Court on December 9, 2019, where he was charged with 19 graft-related offences over loss of Sh357 million of county money. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By RICHARD MUNGUTI

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has asked the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Court to quash three graft cases filed against him.

He has accused the anti-graft agency of violating the law while compiling evidence from five banks.

Seeking termination of the Sh357m graft case and two others on Wednesday, Sonko’s lawyers Cecil Miller and George Kithi said the EACC breached the law when it charged the governor.

EVIDENCE

Mr Miller told EACC Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti that the agency got evidence from Equity Bank, Co-operative Bank, Diamond Trust Bank, KCB Bank and First Community Bank in contravention of the Constitution. Mr Miller said Sonko was not notified that his accounts were being investigated.  

The court heard investigators flouted Section 27 (3) and 28 of the Anti-Corruption and Economics Crime Act (ACECA).

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Mr Miller further said EACC investigators also violated Article 50(4) of the Constitution which says evidence obtained in a manner that violates the rights of a suspect shall be excluded.

He said that ACECA rules require that a notice be issued to a suspect before his bank accounts are investigated.   

EVIDENCE

Mr Miller told Mr Ogoti at the Milimani Anti-Corruption Court that the rules require that evidence being sought from one’s bank accounts should cover a period of six months only.

“Section 27(3) and 28 of the ACECA rules limit the period of investigation to a period of six months only,” Mr Miller said.

He added, “EACC investigators sought information on Sonko accounts for the period between January 2012 and December 2019 which is seven years.”

He said Article 50 (4) of the Constitution states: “Evidence obtained in a manner that violates any right or fundamental freedom in the Bill of Rights shall be excluded if the admission of that evidence would render the trial unfair, or would otherwise be detrimental to the administration of justice.”

The lawyers said Sonko learnt that his accounts in the five banks had been investigated and evidence taken on September 3, 2019 when he was called upon to record statements at Integrity Centre.

INTRUSION

He was shown notices sent to Equity Bank Chief Executive James Mwangi by EACC asking him to furnish investigators with information on Sonko accounts between January 2012 and December 2019.

“The law requires consent before intrusion to ones accounts,” Mr Miller.

He urged the court to quash all three cases filed against the governor saying he was ambushed the EACC.

Sonko and 16 others have denied embezzling Sh357m and Sh24 million in the first and second cases. He is yet to answer charges in the third case.

But EACC claimed that Sonko was informed about the probe into his accounts on September 3, 2019 when he recorded a statement at Integrity Centre.

The court heard the cases that have been filed against Sonko touch on Equity Bank and that “investigations were underway in four other banks.” The case will continue on February 26.

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