Kenya: EACC Officers Raid Sonko's Private Office in Probe On Land

A contingent of Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officers Tuesday raided Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko's Upper Hill office in relation to investigations into acquisition of the multi-million shilling property.

The officers are said to have arrived at Governor Sonko's private office at around 10am to search the property as well as carry out a valuation.

Confirming the development, Mr Sonko spokesperson Ben Mulwa said close to 20 EACC officers stormed the property, saying there was an active investigation in relation to the acquisition of the property and therefore, they were there to search and value it.

"Yes, the officers arrived here in a contingent at around 10am when the governor was in a meeting with two of his ministers and a chief officer. They said they wanted to search as well as value the property, claiming there is an active investigation in regards to the acquisition of the property," said Mr Mulwa.

The anti-graft agency has been probing how the governor came to acquire the posh property from Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme.

This is after reports that the deal to acquire the property was dogged with controversy, including claims the land was undervalued. The EACC has been investigating documents including tender documents, minutes of the tender committee, sale agreements, payment documents, approved subdivision documents and the main title deed.

But Mr Sonko has maintained that he legally purchased the property - LR. 209\6507 - after entering into an agreement with the scheme's trustees to buy two portions of the land for Sh498.5 million on April 30, 2019, depositing Sh144.6 million in accordance with the contract.

He said the purchase happened after three tendering processes between 2017 and 2019 with the former Nairobi senator, further pointing out that he has occupied the property since May 22, 2017 when he entered into an agreement to lease it for use as office space.

While a tenant between December 2017 and December 2018, the pension trustees advertised for an open tender to purchase parcels of the property under tender No. KRSBRS/013/PLM.2017 and KRSRBS/08/PLM.2018, but both bids were non-responsive.

Mr Sonko said the trustees advertised for another bid in February 2019, under Tender No. KRSRBS/02/PLM.2019, which he bid for successfully.

It was after the successful bidding process that he acquired the two parcels of land, paying from his account at Diamond Trust Bank and his lawyer's accounts.

Mr Mulwa has termed the raid by EACC as disturbing, saying that the governor has never failed at any one time to provide the information required.

He also said that the Scheme has also been providing the Commission with all the information they require. "What we find disturbing is the manner in which they arrived because ordinarily if they are coming to do the valuation of the property, why do they come with a contingent of police officers? If EACC wanted to do valuation, the governor wonders why it is not decent enough for them to send a notice informing him of the same," he said.

He defended his boss over the acquisition of the property, saying the deal is purely public-commercial transaction where there was a willing buyer and seller.

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