Sh7m bribery claims rock Sonko ouster motion
Embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko will face senators next week on Thursday to fight his impeachment even as a judge denied receiving a Sh7 million bribe to stop the motion.
In his ruling, Employment and Labour Relations judge Nzioka wa Makau, dismissed the allegations that Sonko bribed him, terming them as outright lies against the court, with the intention to subvert the hearing of the notice of motion.
Yesterday, Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka set December 17 and 18 for the hearing of the ouster motion during which Sonko will seek to defend himself ,against the allegations levelled against him by the MCAs.
A move by senators to set up a select committee to hear Sonko’s side of the story failed after leader of Majority Samuel Pogishio declined to move a notice of motion.
Procedurally, Poghisio would have moved the motion to allow senators to ventilate on the matter before voting to determine which side carries the day.
Senators had already picked a team of 11 members to sit in the Select Committee.
In the courts, lawyer Ndegwa Njiru who represents Nairobi County Assembly in the matter made an application to have the judge recuse himself from the case accusing him of receiving a bribe from Sonko.
“In his submission, he (Njiru) made some laughable allegations that I have been given some Sh7 million by Sonko,” said Makau.
“For the record, I do not know him and neither have l met him in person, as at no time have our public lives converged.
Like many citizens of this nation, I have only seen him on the television,” added Makau.
At the same time, the judge declined to disqualify himself from the case on grounds that the application lacked a basis.
Makau said he retains and always maintains an open mind as a judicial officer, saying he is not biased against any individual.
Although the judge declined to recuse himself from the case, he said he will refer the file back to the principal judge to allocate the matter to another judge.
“However, despite my finding that there is no basis for my recusal and because there is no property in a suit before me, I refer the file back to the Principal Judge to assign the file to another judge other than myself,” Makau ruled.
The judge said it had been suggested ,that he will find it difficult to handle the matter due to his personal relationship with Sonko.
“When one looks at the matter through the eyes of a reasonable man, there can be no bias from this court as can be gleaned from by record in the eight-plus years I have served the people Kenya in the Judiciary and the seven years I served as an Anti-Corruption Commission attorney and investigator,” he said.
The court was to hear the notice of motion filed by Sonko challenging his impeachment by the county assembly but the county assembly lawyers instead asked the judge to recuse himself from the matter saying he is biased.
On Tuesday last week, Makau issued temporary orders stopping the county assembly from impeaching Sonko.
Sonko was impeached two days later. On the same Thursday, Justice James Rika recused himself from the case following a day-long battle in court between lawyers.
Sonko had moved to court to stop his impeachment arguing that it was illegal for the assembly to proceed with the process when there is an order issued in February stopping his removal.
Rejecting the motion
Sonko is said to have spent the better part of Wednesday at the office of a prominent senator at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre strategising on ways of defeating the impeachment motion at the Senate.
Sources who sought anonymity for fear of reprisals from the embattled governor claimed he met several senators to lobby them into rejecting the motion once it is tabled at the floor of teh House.
At the same time, several Nairobi County Assembly membeers are said to have had their security beefed up after reporting threats to their life.
They include Minority whip Peter Imwatok, County Assembly speaker Ben Mutura, Minority leader Michael Ogada who moved the impeachment motion against Sonko at the county assembly and Majority Whip Paul Kigwathi Kados.