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Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at the Milimani Law Courts on February 3, 2021.

Kenya

Sonko remanded until Tuesday in terror probe

NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 5 – Embattled former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was sent back behind bars until Tuesday when the court will rule on his bail application in an investigation on alleged terror links.

Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) is seeking to have him in their custody for 30 days to facilitate an investigation on alleged financing of terrorism activities and arming a militia group.
He already faced robbery with violence and assault charges stemming from 2019 offenses in Buru Buru which he denies. 

Kahawa West Chief Magistrate Diana Kavedza hearing the case ordered he be remanded at the Gigiri Police Station until Tuesday when a ruling on his bail application will be made.

On Tuesday, he will be required at the Kahawa West Law Courts for the ruling on the 30 days sought by ATPU, and will also be required at the Kiambu Law Courts for the bail ruling in the robbery and assault cases.

His lawyers John Khaminwa, Assa Nyakundi, Evans Ondieki and Alfred Nyamu have protested against the charges, terming them “politically motivated.”

On Thursday, Sonko’s bodyguards Clifford Ouko and Benjamin Ochieng were charged at the Kahawa West Law Courts for attempting to rescue the former Governor who was impeached in November 2020.

The prosecution said the two were arrested on February 3 outside the Kamiti court where they allegedly planned to help him out.

Sonko’s woes deepened Wednesday after the prosecution applied to have him detained at the Kamiti Maximum Prison to facilitate investigations on alleged links to financing terrorism activities.

An affidavit filed in court also indicated that Sonko is under investigation for arming a militia group in a dramatic turn of events a day after facing multiple robbery and assault charges stemming from offenses allegedly committed in 2019.

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On Tuesday, Sonko denied a total of 12 counts leveled against him and which his lawyers said were politically motivated due to public statements he made recently linking Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho to the 2017 violence.

Others said his arrest and prosecution were linked to statements he made during a roadside rally in Narok last week against President Uhuru Kenyatta who had spoken about him in Nyeri where he told a youth meeting that the Governor was impeached due to incompetence.

Sonko denied the charges when he was arraigned at the Kiambu Law Courts on Tuesday and was ordered remanded at the Gigiri Police Station for two days to enable police conclude investigations.

But in a surprise turn of events, Sonko was arraigned at the Milimani Law Courts Wednesday during the mention of his corruption cases, only for him to be taken to the Kahawa West Law Courts in the evening where an affidavit was filed indicating that he was under active investigation on terrorism activities.

“I have intelligence information that the suspect is connected to financing of terrorism activities and he is in the advance stage of procuring arms and ammunition using a wide syndicate which is complex ad sophisticated,” an affidavit filed in court by a Chief Inspector Newton Thimangu of the Anti Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU), an arm of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) states in part.

He also indicated that Sonko had “started arming his private security agents with full military attire namely military boots, military jungle uniforms and firearms. The suspect who was in company of unknown person had worn militia attire and together with the suspect they were both spotted in public in full glare of the media and in front of huge mass of people in a public rally.”

An undated photograph of Sonko and an unknown person was attached to the affidavit.

Charges read out to him on Tuesday stated that he assaulted two people in Buru Buru in 2019, leaving them with serious injuries.

The charges include assault causing actual bodily harm, robbery with violence and destruction of property.

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He also faced an additional charge of entering private property without permission or a search warrant.

His case was heard by Kiambu Senior Principal Magistrate Stellah Atambo who ordered he be remanded at the Gigiri Police Station.

Sonko was impeached in November over gross misconduct, abuse of office and corruption.
He is also facing corruption charges in court alongside several county officials and suppliers accused of colluding to siphon public funds.

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