Revealed: Sonko was released from prison over HIV status

Judge ruled governor was an HIV positive patient, confirmed by medical evidence on record

In Summary

• Sonko had already served nine months when his sentence was reviewed.

• Justice Oguk who reduced his sentence in 2001 was sacked in 2008.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko arrives at Puwmani Police Grounds for Madaraka Day on Saturday, June 1
UNWELL? Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko arrives at Puwmani Police Grounds for Madaraka Day on Saturday, June 1

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was released from prison three months before completing his one year sentence because he was HIV positive, documents show.

In what may further swirl the confusion of his exit from prison, the court documents in possession of the Star show the governor applied for a review of his sentence after serving nine months.

These are contained in a controversial judgment issued by High Court judge Samuel Oguk (now deceased) in application No 80 of 2001.


However, Sonko has never publicly spoken about his HIV status.

"He was sentenced to serve 12 months imprisonment in respect of each count to run concurrently. He is now remaining with about three months to complete the sentence. The applicant has been distinguished as an HIV positive patient and this has been confirmed by medical evidence on record," reads the judgment.

The judgment went on: "I do allow this application and I do hereby reduce the sentence that was imposed on the applicant in Mombasa case No 1727/96 and 675/97 to the period already served so as to ensure the applicant 's immediate release from prison unless otherwise lawfully held."

Dramatically, Justice Oguk who reducced Sonko's sentence was sacked by the Judiciary during the radical surgery in 2008. 

The details of the judgement have been under wraps for nearly two decades with the governor giving contradictory reports on how he finally got out of prison.

Previously, Sonko has publicly  claimed that he escaped from prison where he was serving 12 months after being convicted of fraud.

However, Sonko had earlier in 1998 escaped from Shimo la Tewa prison but was re-arrested in 1999.


The governor who has claimed being a jailbird escaped to attend the burial of his mother Saumu Mukami.

The governor is not new to controversy.

On Wednesday night, Sonko's interview on Citizen TV's JKL show turned ugly and dramatic as he tore into Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris.

The governor was hellbent on playing out an audio recording and displaying WhatsApp messages of his private conversations with Passaris, forcing the station to end the interview prematurely.

 Sonko, in his characteristic style of arming himself with papers, claimed he had damning evidence against Passaris and at some time threatened to reveal the details of 'intimate' conversations.

During the interview, Sonko presented an audio clip and receipts of per diem payments made to her by the county as proof of Passaris’s alleged smear campaign against him.

He went on to accuse Passaris of trying to extort money from public coffers by demanding double per diems for her trips abroad yet she was being paid by the Parliamentary Service Commission.

Sonko claimed that he had a right of reply after Passaris allegedly called him corrupt during Madaraka Day celebrations.

The Woman Rep walked out on Sonko as he made his speech after the governor ranted that she was troubling him with numerous calls which he can not pick because Passaris is not his wife.

The governor had also lashed out at her at the celebrations after she complained about delays in approving her development projects.

On Wednesday after his interview was cut short Sonko walked out of the show and went live on Facebook to display the correspondences with Passaris from April 30 to Madaraka Day.

He projected the screen of his phone on a big monitor and went through all their correspondence, even playing audio conversations in what triggered a storm.

He said he wanted to prove that Passaris allegedly asked him for money on numerous occasions and that he supported her projects within the county.

“How come when she asks for money I give it to her in good faith, yet when I dish cash out to the poor people, it is corruption money? Why the double standards?” Sonko said.

The incident elicited anger and condemnation from Kenyans on social media who castigated Sonko’s character with some suggesting that it amounted to gender-based violence.

This is not the first time the governor has been caught in the eye of storm over his penchant for recording private conversations in what has exposed his soft underbelly of not being anybody’s confidante.

In August last year, the governor leaked a telephone conversation with his Kiambu counterpart Ferdinand Waititu, who was pleading for the release of his wife Susan Wangari who had been arrested with 14 others.

Earlier the same year,  Sonko leaked screenshots and audios of his conversations with his former deputy Polycarp Igathe, before the former resigned from his position after just five months.

He posted the screenshots of the messages to dispute reports that the two were not getting along.