FLIGHT RISK

Sonko escaped prison before, he should not get bail - DPP

Prosecution said there is evidence that Sonko has a pending criminal case in Mombasa.

In Summary

• The prosecutor cited an incident on March 12 in 1998 where Sonko was convicted for failing to appear in court over three cases in Mombasa.

• DPP quoted the Commissioner of Prisons who said while Sonko was at Shimo La Tewa Prison, he sought treatment at the Coast General Hospital after which escaped from lawful custody.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko with his co-accused at the Milimani Law Court on Monday, December 9, 2019.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko with his co-accused at the Milimani Law Court on Monday, December 9, 2019.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

The Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution has opposed Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko release on bail.

Sonko, along with several other Nairobi County officials, was arraigned before Anti-Corruption Magistrate Douglas Ogoti to answer to Sh357 million graft charges at City Hall.

The DPP represented by Gitonga Riungu and James Kihara opposed Sonko's release on bail citing he had escaped prison before.

The prosecutor cited an incident on March 12 in 1998 where Sonko was convicted for failing to appear in court over three cases in Mombasa.

 

He was sentenced to pay a fine of Sh500,000 in the first case and Sh200,000 in the second case.

In default, he was to serve six months imprisonment for each case consecutively.

Kihara quoted the Commissioner of Prisons who said while Sonko was at Shimo La Tewa Prison, he sought treatment at the Coast General Hospital after which escaped from lawful custody.

He was then arrested after a signal was sent from Shimo La Tewa Prison.

Kihara through an affidavit said there is evidence that Sonko has a pending criminal case in Mombasa in 2001.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at the Milimani Law Court on Monday, December 9, 2019.
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at the Milimani Law Court on Monday, December 9, 2019.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

Despite being granted anticipatory bail he declined to present himself before the Chief Magistrate court for plea taking.

It's in that particular case that the Chief Magistrate issued a warrant for his arrest having failed to appear before the said court.

Kihara said the offences facing the accused persons are severe.

Sonko, he said, is likely to abscond as records show that he was convicted in the past for failing to attend court.

"It's in the interest of the public that the court denies Sonko bail. The reasons I have given are compelling enough to deny him bail," Kihara added.

Kihara added if Sonko is released on bail, he will interfere and intimidate the witnesses who are junior officers and employees of the Nairobi County Government.

The prosecutor said Sonko used his position as governor to incite some of the CECs from recording statements in other ongoing investigations hence releasing him on bail will further jeopardise these investigations.

"Its the Prosecutions case that Sonko intentionally obstructed and interfered with the speedy conclusion of the investigations leading to the current charges by failing to provide crucial documents pertaining to this case," Kihara argued.

He said Sonko has on several occasions threatened officers at the EACC during the investigations and releasing him will interfere with the case at Nairobi City County.

Kihara added that Sonko had targeted to escape from the court's jurisdiction of but officers managed to arrest him in Voi town.

"This is a clear manifestation that Sonko is a flight risk," he said.

The prosecutor, however, said if the court is inclined to grant Sonko bail, then the court should consider that the offences facing him are economic and the amount of funds lost.

Kihara said the governor together with the other accused being public officers, be barred from accessing the offices of the county government pending the hearing and determination of the graft case.

The prosecutor asked the court to make an order that all the accused persons deposit their passports in court.

The ODPP also asked the court to consider the character of the accused person insisting the gravity of the offenses is compelling enough to deny him bail.

The prosecution cited the recent decisions on Governors Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) and Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu) that barred them from accessing office after pleading to graft charges.


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