Nairobi — Lawyers representing embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko were at pains to convince the court Monday to free him on bond after facing corruption charges, denying claims that he is a dangerous criminal as argued by the state which charged him with corruption in a Sh357 million scandal.
Sonko is accused of money laundering, receiving bribes, conflict of interest and abusing his office in tenders awarded to contractors and suppliers who are said to have wired money to his personal accounts on diverse dates.
He denied more than 30 counts when he was arraigned before anti-corruption court magistrate Douglas Ogoti, charged alongside 18 others, among them County government procurement and Finance officials as well as suppliers.
Led by Cecil Miller, the lawyers urged the court to allow him to continue serving as the Governor "due to the prevailing circumstances in Nairobi County which does not have a deputy."
Sonko has never appointed his deputy since the resignation of Polycarp Igathe 18 months ago.
The lawyers also disputed a claim by the prosecution that Sonko is a fugitive, having fled from Shimo La Tewa Prison in Mombasa more than ten years ago.
In mounting defence on why Sonko should be freed on bail, the lawyers also told the court that he had suffered injuries during a scuffle with police officers in Voi when he was arrested on Friday and airlifted to Nairobi.
Miller submitted a medical report by Sonko's personal doctor who attended to him on Sunday, confirming he has breathing difficulty among other health concerns.
"He must be granted bail immediately," the lawyer submitted saying "it was a matter of fighting for his life."
According to the lawyer, a doctor attached to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) had also confirmed Sonko's health condition.
Governor Sonko, through his lawyer, denied having pending cases and said all previous cases were quashed and sentencing reduced to the time served.
"It's a total lie," Miller said of the prosecution submissions, and accused them of portraying the Governor as a "dangerous individual."
About his alleged escape from prison, Miller said the Governor's sentence was set aside.
"Where is the warrant of arrest?," he posed, "They could have attached it."
Miller cited an instance when Sonko negotiated the release of Mombasa Republican Council suspects who were held at the same prison.
"Why did they not arrest him in 2011 when he went back to the same facility?" he wondered.
"This gentleman has been cleared to run for Makadara seat as a Member of Parliament, for the Senate and Gubernatorial position."
To support his argument, the lawyer submitted copies of police clearance certificates issued by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
"What has changed now? Are they saying that the office that signed the document lied," he posed, and turned the heat on the EACC, for clearing the Governor to vie.
Sonko, he told the court, has also been cleared to be a Member of the International Police Association.