Inside Sonko’s Plan to Leave Kenya


Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko on Thursday, February 6, lost in an application to the courts for the release of his travel documents to facilitate his travel to the United Arab Emirates for official duties.

In a report published by K24 Digital, Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti rejected the application indicating that the governor may end up abusing office against the court's orders.

“The release of the passport is tantamount to review my own orders which procedurely may lead to abuse office which the court is not ready to,” ruled Ogoti.

According to a report by Citizen TV on Wednesday, January 5, Sonko made an application to the court asking for the release of all his travel documents.

Through his legal team, Sonko explained that the move was aimed at enabling him to travel to the United Arab Emirates for official duty.

In the application, the governor’s lawyers stated that he had been invited to attend the 10th session of the World Urban Forum that will commence on Saturday, February 8, to Thursday, February 13.

A past photo of Nairobi governor Mike Sonko

“The applicant has been invited in his capacity as the governor of Nairobi City County and is expected to engage in discussions with other participants on the theme of the forum,” read the court papers.

The legal team also indicated that the high-level forum was convened by UN-Habitat and was an open and inclusive platform for addressing the challenges of sustainable urbanization.

Sonko also stated that he was willing to subject himself to the regulations that may be considered appropriate by the High Court in line with the release of his travel documents.

However, the office of the director of public prosecutions rejected Sonko’s application, stating that they needed time to verify the authenticity of the documents. 

The prosecution also argued that Sonko paid for the UAE trip using his personal cards as proof that he was travelling for personal luxury and not for official duties as governor.

“Sonko is travelling in his official capacity, however, the court in its ruling barred the accused from his office, he, therefore, cannot purport to be performing his official duties by travelling to attend the meeting,” the prosecution submitted.

On Tuesday, February 4, Sonko got a reprieve after a court ordered the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) to unfreeze the governor’s five bank accounts.

In the ruling, Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku dismissed ARA’s application, saying the decision by the agency to continue using an illegal order that lapsed on December 23, 2019, to freeze Sonko’s bank accounts was not in line with the constitution.

“The continued freezing of the accounts will be highly prejudicial to the holders of the accounts and I, therefore, direct the unfreezing of the accounts by the agency,” ruled Mutuku. 

Mutuku further stated that some of the bank accounts do not even belong to the governor himself but to the people alleged to be associated with him.

Nairobi governor Mike Sonko at the Milimani Courts in September 2018

The accounts were frozen in December 2019 by the Assets and Recovery Authority after claims of suspicious cash transactions suspected to be proceeds of corrupt deals at City Hall.

The authority also froze accounts belonging to Rose Njeri, Antony Mwaura, Toddy Engineering Company Limited, Hardi Enterprises Limited and Brigit Wamaitha.

The account holders were charged alongside the governor in the Ksh357 million garbage collection tender case.

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