Kenya: Sonko Moved to KNH After Examination By a Doctor at Kamiti Prison

9 December 2019

Nairobi — Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko is now admitted to the Kenyatta National Hospital following examination by a doctor at Kamiti Maximum Prison where he was remanded after facing corruption charges.

Prison authorities have confirmed that Sonko was moved to hospital shortly before midnight.

When he was charged in court on Monday, his lawyer Cecil Miller pleaded with anti-corruption magistrate Douglas Ogoti to issue an order for him to be allowed to seem medical attention for injuries, he said, were sustained when he engaged in a scuffle with police officers in Voi.

It was the magistrate who ordered that he can only be taken to hospital once examined by a prison doctor to certify ascertain if indeed he required medical attention.

Sonko is charged with corruption in a Sh357 million scandal, in which he is accused of having received kickbacks from suppliers. He is also facing money laundering, abuse of office and conflict of interest charges-all of which he denied.

The magistrate ordered he be remanded until Wednesday alongside his 13 co-accused to await a bail ruling.

"They will be remanded in prison until Wednesday," Ogoti ruled, after hearing arguments from the defence and prosecution.

Sonko's troubled past returned to haunt him, after the prosecution heavily relied on it to argue its case in opposing his release on bail.

The state specifically cited a case in which the governor escaped from Shimo La Tewa Maximum prison in Mombasa, more than a decade ago, portraying him as a dangerous person.

Prosecutors handling his case also told a magistrate's court that Sonko has a pending criminal case that has stalled "because he has refused to present himself."

Already, the prosecution said, a warrant of arrest has since been issued by a Magistrate's court in Mombasa.

Therefore, the prosecution argued, if he is released on bail, "Sonko is likely to abscond or interfere with witnesses."

"If released on bail or bond there is a high likelihood that he will interfere and intimidate witnesses who are junior officers and employees of Nairobi County Government," a state prosecutor submitted after Sonko denied corruption-related charges including money laundering and bribery.

Lawyers representing the embattled Governor were at pains to convince the court to free him on bond, denying claims that he is a dangerous criminal as argued by the state which charged him with corruption in a Sh357 million scandal.

He is 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 defense 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."

Governor Sonko, through his lawyers, 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.

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