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Economy

Protected witnesses to testify in Sonko’s Sh10m bribe case

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The State will use protected witnesses against Nairobi governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko during hearing of the Sh10 million bribery case that started Monday.

The closed-door session was presided by chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti who also directed the State to ensure the witnesses testify while inside a witness box because of their security. The witnesses also used pseudonyms during hearing of the case. The Director of Public Prosecutions has lined up 28 witnesses, majority of who are not under protection.

Only the governor and his co-accused Antony Otieno Ombok alias Jamal, their defence legal team, State prosecutors, the magistrate, his assistant and court orderlies were allowed into the courtroom.

The trial kicked off after the governor, businessman Jamal and ROG Security Limited denied the 13 graft charges.

Mr Sonko is accused of demanding Sh10 million bribe from Web Tribe Ltd through ROG Security Limited as an inducement to facilitate payments by the county government.

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Web Tribe Ltd had been contracted by the city county government six years ago to collect revenue. The governor is said to have committed the offence between January 10 and 19, 2019 within the city.

by demanding the benefit from the company which operates Jambo Pay.

The electronic payment firm was contracted in 2014 by the administration of Governor Evans Kidero to supply, implement and maintain an automated revenue collection and payments solution for a period of five years.

As a result of the development, City Hall used to rely on the JamboPay’s electronic payment service e-jijiPAY to collect its revenue. The contract ended in April, 2019.

Mr Sonko together with Mr Ombok answered the charges after the court dismissed an attempt by the defence lawyers to temporarily stop them from taking plea.

Led by lawyer Danstan Omari, the defence team wanted the plea-taking suspended pending determination of an application filed by the governor’s co-accused Mr Ombok at the High Court.

In the application, Mr Ombok is challenging the decision of the DPP to amend the charge sheet.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges that include conflict of interest, abuse of office, conspiracy to commit offence of corruption, money laundering and acquisition of proceeds of crime.

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