, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – Nairobi Senator Gideon Mbuvi Mike Sonko has become the first elected leader to step aside to pave way for investigations on corruption allegations facing him.
Sonko wrote to the Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro requesting to be granted 60 days leave to clear his name with the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) which is investigating him over a number of allegations.
“I have learnt with surprise and dismay that my name is included in the list of the people being investigated by the EACC, allegedly over a tender at the Kenya Pipeline Company… I hereby announce that I have forthwith stepped aside as the Senator for Nairobi, Majority Deputy Chief Whip Senate, Member Roads and Transport, National Security and Foreign Relations and Joint Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity committees. I will vacate my county office, and only return after my name is cleared — Kenya is bigger than Sonko, Kidero and all the mentioned elected leaders,” read part of the letter.
In a telephone interview with Capital FM, Speaker of the Senate Ekwee Ethuro who is away in Vietnam for official business confirmed that he had indeed allowed Sonko to be absent from Parliamentary activities pending the completion of investigations against him.
“I have allowed him to be away for 60 days – there will be no penalties for missing the sittings because he has permission from the Chair,” said Ethuro.
Sonko maintained his innocence terming the accusations as malicious and meant to tarnish his reputation.
“The EACC team knows where to find me, they have not made any effort to contact me or request for any information or assistance from me. I am therefore left to conclude that the investigations against me are motivated by ill will,” said Sonko.
The flashy Senator is being investigated for allegedly colluding with Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu and businessman Deepak Kamani in a land grab ring involving senior ministry officials, politicians and brokers including Patrick Kibagendi Osero (AFC) board, lawyer James Mbaluka and Chief lands officer Sarah Mwenda.
He is also named in a corruption scandal at the Kenya Pipeline Company involving Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir where they are accused of being involved in a raft of corruption deals in the Ministry’s tender and procurement process.
“A case in point is where there was an attempt to influence award of a Kenya Pipeline Company tender costing 500 million US dollars to SINOPEC instead of ZAKHEM. The tender was meant to corruptly yield 15 million US dollars which was to be shared between Davis Chirchir and Senator Mike Mbuvi,” read and excerpt of the EACC report.
“I have no influence over KPC and its procurement system. KPC is a State corporation with a respectable management team and a board of directors. I serve in none. The only connection I have with the parastatal is that it is headquartered in the county of Nairobi where I am the Senator,” he responded.
In his statement Sonko denied involvement in any of the corrupt deals listed in the EACC report tabled in parliament on Tuesday vowing to clear his name.
He also urged other elected leaders mentioned in the report to show good will and step aside. However Meru Governor Peter Munya and Bomet’s Isaac Ruto have remained steadfast that they will not resign as the allegations against them are false and unsubstantiated.
The confidential report by EACC had named 12 governors, two Senators and eight members of the National Assembly being investigated for allegedly embezzling public funds.
Budalangi legislator Ababu Namwamba had on Tuesday written to the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi requesting leave from parliamentary duties, but later changed his mind and withdrew the letter.