Sonko denies abuse of office charges in Sh10million graft case

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has denied a charge of abuse of office.

Sonko took plea on Monday at the Milimani courts before Anti-Corruption Magistrate Douglas Ogoti.

He was represented by his lawyer Cecil Miller and George Kithy while the DPP was represented by Prosecutor James Kihara.

Last week, Ogoti had directed Sonko to appear in court today to plead afresh to the graft charges.

The order was made after the Director of Public Prosecutions amended the graft charges facing Sonko.

A new charge of abuse of office was introduced in the amended charge sheet.

In the amended charge sheet, it is alleged that in January last year, Sonko abused his office by improperly conferring a benefit to himself by demanding Sh10 million from Web Tribe Ltd through ROG Security Limited.

The money was an inducement to facilitate payments to Web tribe Limited by Nairobi City County Government.

Sonko, ROG Security limited and its director Antony Otieno Ombok alias Jamal also denied conspiring to commit an offence of corruption. 

ROG Security Limited and Jamal represented by Lawyer Danstan Omari.

Others charges facing the accused persons are money laundering and acquisition of proceeds of crime.

They denied all the charges.

Plea bargaining off the table as new charge introduced in Sonko graft...

Sonko's defense team had opposed plea taking of the new charge facing the Governor.

 Omari said his clients had made an application to the High Court and sought a stay in the plea taking.

The application has since been certified urgent and they have been ordered to serve the DPP. 

Omari said the decision to charge and have a fresh charge sheet was never communicated by the state to the accused people.

He argued that if the state indicated to the accused persons earlier than September 7, they could have challenged the charges earlier.

Omari says the amended charge sheet was served to them on September 7 before the court and that they only came to know about it on the said date.

ROG and its director wanted the plea taking be deferred temporarily to enable him to have his day before the High court.

The DPP however opposed to the application of adjournment and stay.

Kihara said since January, the accused persons have all along known they were slated to take plea.

"The court has not been told why the accused persons waited from September 7 up to September 11 to move the High court knowing very well that they were to appear today for plea taking. Why was the same not done on September 7? Why this late?" Kihara argued.

"We only learned that they moved to the High court last Friday this morning. We didn't know the second and third accused persons had made the application before the High court until today. Omari has not demonstrated what prejudice his clients will suffer if they take plea this morning."

Kihara said any delay in Monday's proceedings will obviously prejudice the witnesses who are to testify as the three witnesses are protected witnesses.

Sonko's lawyer Miller who supported of the application seeking to defer the plea, said they received the statements from the protected witnesses.

Miller confirmed the application made by Omari for the accused persons is pending before High court and relates to the current matter before Ogoti.

This article was published by The Star on 14/9/2020.