Nairobi governor arrested for 'economic crimes', public prosecutor confident of their case

2019-12-06 13:39

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP).

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP).

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The flashy governor of Nairobi was on Friday arrested shortly after Kenya's chief prosecutor ordered he be detained to face charges of economic crimes.

Governor Mike Sonko is the latest in a string of top officials - including Finance Minister Henry Rotch - to be hauled in on corruption charges as Kenya battles to clamp down on rampant graft.

"The Governor of Nairobi Mike Sonko has been arrested by our officers in Voi [and] is being escorted to Nairobi to face charges in court," Yassin Amaro, spokesman for the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) told AFP.

Sonko and other country officials are accused by public prosecutor Noordin Haji of having benefited from irregular procurement and payments of $3.5m.

Haji said he had sufficient evidence to prosecute Sonko and other county officials for "unlawful acquisition of public property, money laundering and other economic crimes."

"I have therefore ordered for the immediate arrest and arraignment in court of the Governor of Nairobi Hon. Mike Mbuvi Sonko and other persons," Haji said in a statement earlier Friday.

It was seen as a maverick move when, in 2017, the ruling party chose populist Mike Sonko as its candidate for Nairobi's gubernatorial poll, a controversial politician who has spent time in jail and has had to deny allegations of illegal activities, including drug trafficking.

Haji said his investigation into Sonko and his officials had been challenging "because of the repeated attempts by the accused to obstruct the course of the investigations by deploying intimidation tactics in addition to using goons to threaten law enforcement officials carrying out their constitutional mandates."

Since his election, Sonko has chosen to operate from his rural home in Machakos, 60 km’s southeast of Nairobi.

He is beloved by poor Kenyans for running his personally branded fire trucks and ambulances to assist people living in the slums.

Read more on:    mike sonko  |  kenya  |  corruption  |  fraud

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