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W*rd Reps lay out case against embattled Sonko

Thursday, December 17th, 2020 00:00 | By
Governor Mike Sonko. PHOTO/File

Accusers of the embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko yesterday spelt out their grounds for impeaching him, including corruption allegations, ineptitude, gross misconduct and lack of accountability.

Lawyers representing the Nairobi County Assembly Ward Reps at the hearing of the impeachment motion against Sonko, yesterday told senators that the move was not borne out of malice but a demonstration that he had failed in his duties.

“The impeachment was not out of malice..We are having a case of a governor gone rogue, a governor who fails to appreciate that the governor has to live by laws,” said Ndegwa Njiru, the assembly’s lead lawyer.

Njiru went on to describe Sonko as a person driven by desire to grab and maintain power by all means.

To hammer home his point, Njiru picked a quote from renowned English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes; “Human beings by nature are cruel, greedy, selfish and are driven by desire to grab and maintain power by all means.”

Gross charges

In response, Sonko’s defence team sought to have the motion thrown out on procedural issues and on alleged prejudice.

Lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui told the Senate that the assembly had failed to meet the required constitutional threshold while impeaching the governor.

“The assembly flouted all its Standing Orders and procedures while passing the motion,” Kinyanjui said.

He pleaded with Speaker Kenneth Lusaka to allow the pending cases relating to the matter be determined before the impeachment motion could be heard.

But in his ruling, Speaker Lusaka said the investigation before the Senate is both in respect of procedural issues as well as substantive matters.

“To that extent and following precedence, it is clear to me, and I so rule, that any preliminary objection, both procedural and substantive should be properly subsumed in the evidence of either party and presented at the time allocated to that party,” Lusaka ruled.

On the objection based on sub judice, Lusaka noted that sub-judice is a rule of the Senate itself, for its own convenience which requires evidence for it to be invoked.

“All objections raised in respect to procedural, legal or constitutional lapses at the county assembly and all matters relating to the jurisdiction of the Senate shall be urged and canvassed within the time allocated by each party and shall be considered by the Senate,” Lusaka directed.

Sonko was also accused of being extravagant to the extent of hiring a chopper to fly his daughter around New York using taxpayer’s money.

The governor is facing four gross charges, which range from misuse of power, resources and abuse of office.

He is accused of having diverted Conditional Funds in the use of the road levy and bursary funds to pay for garbage collection contractors and lawyers, contrary to Bursary Fund regulations and the approved budget.

“While the governor requested Sh297 million for bursary from the Controller of Budget, these funds were illegally used to pay garbage contractors and lawyers,” read the charge.

Sonko, according to the assembly, continued wilfully to refuse to execute the statutory warrants essential to the release of funds from the County Revenue Fund, which has grounded the provision of services of not only the county executive, but of the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) and its exercise of the transferred functions.

The assembly further accuses the governor of violating the Leadership and Integrity Act, where he is on record admitting that he was intoxicated and thus not in the right frame of mind when he signed the Deed of Transfer for the transfer of certain functions of the county to the national government in February, 2020.

Sharing positions

“In his own words, “Hawa watu wa State House waliniconfuse na pombe kwanza. By the time I was meeting the President for the signing I was just seeing zigzag.”

This allegation of impropriety on the part of the State House imputes improper motive on the Office of the President, and brings disrepute, ridicule, hatred and contempt to the Office of the President and of the governor,” the assembly presented to the Senate. 

The governor has refused or failed to implement resolutions of the County Assembly or forward a report detailing his inability to do so with respect to county public debt and debt management.

“The result is unmitigated accrual of debt, which has ballooned the county’s overall debt to unmanageable levels, rising from Sh56 billion when he assumed office in 2017 to Sh76.794 billion as at Decembern 31, 2019 hence further violating the Constitution,” claims the assembly. 

Sonko’s engagement in social media where he is notorious for writing defamatory and inciting tweets returned to haunt him, with the assembly terming it immoral for a person of his status.

This morning the county executive is expected to present its case against or for the governor after which the defence will interrogate them. Senators will vote on the motion later in the afternoon. 

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