The arrest of Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has opened the lid on the involvement of some of his closest associates in shady dealings within the city over the years.
Whereas the governor has maintained that he is determined to rid the city of corruption cartels, it has now emerged that some of the individuals to be charged alongside him over the Sh537 million corruption scandal are his long-time associates who have been named in graft claims.
RIGHT HAND MEN
Among those on the list is one Anthony Mwaura Ng’ang’a, a wealthy but shadowy contractor who has in the past been linked to corrupt deals.
Although rarely seen with Sonko, Mr Ng’ang’a and the city boss go back to his days in the trenches of Nairobi’s Eastlands, before he joined politics.
The list of suspects released by Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji also includes the governor’s right-hand men Anthony Otieno Ombok, alias Jamal, and Fredrick Odhiambo, alias Fred Oyugi, alias Dor.
Mr Ng’ang’a, Mr Ombok and Mr Odhiambo as well as some of the men and women who showed up at Wilson Airport in solidarity with the governor after he was airlifted to Nairobi in handcuffs on Friday form part of his kitchen Cabinet.
Also at Wilson Airport was East Africa Legislative Assembly (Eala) MP Simon Mbugua and controversial businessman Paul Kobia, who has in the past been named and investigated over various crimes, mostly frauds involving gold.
EACC investigators are accusing Mr Sonko and his confidantes of forming a cartel that is fleecing Nairobi residents.
Mr Ombok is the Director of ROG Security Limited, Arab Auto Limited, High Energy Limited and High Energy Petroleum Limited while Mr Ng’ang’a is the director of Hardi Enterprises Limited and Toddy Civil Engineering Limited, companies which investigators say wired cash to the personal accounts of Mr Sonko after winning tenders in Nairobi County.
The scheme of money laundering in Nairobi County as unearthed by the EACC is similar to another multimillion-shilling scandal in which Mr Ng’ang’a was involved.
In 2017, Mr Ng’ang’a was a person of interest in a case filed by the EACC over the unexplained wealthy of Mr Stanley Mombo Amuti, a former financial controller at the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation.
Mr Amuti was a long-serving civil servant who had worked in various ministries and departments for 25 years, a period in which he acquired assets located in various parts of the country estimated to be worth millions of shillings.
The EACC commenced the investigation in July 2008 after a tip-off that Mr Amuti had in his wealth declaration forms indicated that his salary was his only source of income.
It was established that while Mr Amuti’s gross salary ranged between Sh183,580 and Sh306,000 during the periods under investigation, his wealth ran into millions of shillings, which was found to be disproportionate to his salary. Investigators established that some of the cash deposited in his accounts came from various contractors and suppliers, among them Mr Ng’ang’a, who traded as Toddy Merchants, amounting to tens of millions of shillings.
Mr Ng’ang’a’s other company, Hardy Enterprises, made more deposits to the personal accounts of Mr Amuti, leading the investigators to conclude that “money was paid from the corporation, to the suppliers/contractors and it came back to the financial controller”.
Investigations also revealed that Toddy’s merchants and Hardy were one company that traded under different names.
In May last year, Mr Ombok was among five others arrested after the assault on Timothy Muriuki, a former chairman of Nairobi Central Business District Association (NCBDA).
After his election as governor in 2017, Mr Sonko temporarily appointed Mr Ombok as his communication adviser.
Although one of the most powerful people in Governor Sonko’s government, Mr Ombok is not an employee of the county government.
The wealthy businessman is said to be one of the smartest street people in Nairobi. He is the chairman of ROG Sacco, a group of matatus that ply the Eastlands route.
Other close associates and advisers of Mr Sonko include his political adviser Onchari Oyieyo, lawyer Paul Musyimi, Chief of Staff Kamau Mugo, former Nairobi County Women Representative aspirant Karen Nyamu and Ben Mulwa, a strategist.
Mr Oyieyo is a staunch defender of the governor through his numerous appearances on local TV and radio shows while Mr Musyimi defends the city boss through various social media platforms.