Fear that Nairobi governor Mike Sonko would spent a fortune to bribe Nairobi MCAs to stop his impeachment motion forced the government to freeze his five bank accounts.
Also on radar are bank accounts of Sonko associates in business and political network.
We have also information, the state and Jubilee party was behind the recent decision by speaker of Nairobi county assembly to have the regeneration committee chaired by Tourism minister Najib Balala take over in the running of the city operations. Suprisingly before being blocked out of office, Sonko is said to have been aware of the scheme to install the committee and that is why at one time he petitioned Uhuru Kenyatta to have the government to fight cartels at City Hall.
Information we have is that city MCAs worried that Uhuru may decide to dissolve the county if they impeach Sonko and be shown the doors decided to befriend the state by allowing the regeneration committee but not the adhoc one that was to constitute the MCAs to be in charge.
Talk has been rife, Sonko had infiltrated state security machinery and had briefs on what was going to happen. To crown it all was fear he had support in the city slum areas and that is why during his arrest, anti-riot police in full gear were on standby.Sources say Sonko is classified in the same group as Bobi Wine of Uganda when it comes to youth support.
At the moment, the embattled county chief cannot even draw his salary after the Assets Recovery Agency asked the court to freeze the accounts following claims of suspicious money transactions believed to be proceeds of crime.
Sonko, according to sources, had planned to scuttle the MCAs’ meeting held last week on Thursday by splashing cash, thereby derail their recommendations for the formation of a team to run City Hall.
But aware of the trick the governor would have used, the Assets Recovery Agency moved with speed to obtain orders to freeze his accounts.
Last December, Sonko, through emissaries, had planned to send tens of MCAs on a superfluous tour of the United Arab Emirates at the taxpayers’ expense to scuttle his impeachment.
The 18 ward reps were scheduled to fly out to Dubai for 11 days, from December 19 to 29 last year.
Sending the 18 MCAs out of the country would have scuttled the quest to have at least 82 MCAs, out of the 123 who sit in the Nairobi county assembly, sign the censure motion to remove the embattled governor from office.
The constitution requires a two-thirds majority to impeach a governor, and had a motion to impeach Sonko been called while the 18 MCAs were away, it would have been considerably weakened by the depleted quorum.
The MCAs who had accepted Sonko’s offer to fly to Dubai included ODM’s Jared Okode (Mathare North), Maurice Gari (Nairobi West), Osman Khalif (South C), Francis Otieno (Dandora Area IV), Nicholas Okumu (Lower Savannah), Kennedy Obuya (Imara Daima), Kennedy Oyugi (Nyayo Highrise) and David Okelo (Huruma).
Those from Jubilee who had taken the bribe included majority leader Charles Thuo, Paul Ndung’u (Pumwani), Patriciah Mutheu (Mlango Kubwa), Joseph Wambugu (Karura), Kabiru Muchene (Uthiru Ruthimitu), Mark Ndugu (Maringo Hamza), Julius Njoka (Kariobangi North), and nominated MCAs Joyce Kamau and Millicent Jagero.
The flashy governor who in May 2019 claimed he was worth more than the Sh32 billion, had planned to bribe each MCA with Sh2 million to stop them from censuring him.
The governor also wanted to use the bribe to have the MCAs pile pressure on the speaker Beatrice Elachi to table the name of Anne Mwenda at the assembly to be approved as the deputy governor.
Sonko, according to sources, is suspected of having backdated the date of Mwenda’s nomination to indicate he nominated her before he was charged with graft.
Already, the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin has dismissed the nomination as null and void, arguing Sonko was in violation of his bail terms.
The governor was charged alongside other county officials over the misappropriation of Sh357 million.
Sonko in a letter to Elachi said the decision to nominate Mwenda was in line with article 180(5) of the Constitution and the Supreme Court Advisory of March 2018.
Mwenda is the chief officer for disaster and acting chief officer of water.
Sonko has received the backing of the Council of Governors which said he has fulfilled his constitutional mandate.
In addition, they argued the move will restore order in Nairobi and allow smooth delivery of services.
CoG chair Governor Wycliffe Oparanya stated that Sonko partook the constitution’s requirement.
But the county assembly through Elachi has ruled out her vetting.
Sonko’s bank accounts are held at KCB, Equity Bank, Cooperative Bank, Credit Bank, Sidian Bank, National Bank, Bank of Africa, I&M Bank and Diamond Trust Bank.
The governor was last week informed that his accounts had been frozen by a court order dated December 11. The order was given to the agency by senior resident magistrate E Riany.
But he argues that he was never served with court papers and the is scheduled for hearing on January 27.
Last week, MCAs pushed for the revival of Nairobi Regeneration Committee to take over the running of county affairs.
The MCAs unanimously resolved to have the national government revamp the committee to take over the running of City Hall.
The Regeneration Committee was formed in 2018 by Uhuru to oversee key services in Nairobi county.
It comprises national and county government leaders and is co-chaired by Balala and Sonko.
But the team will have to be reconstituted since Sonko and his former deputy Polycarp Igathe cannot be members.
Sonko is barred from executing duties as governor while Igathe resigned in a huff, saying he had failed to earn the trust of his boss, the governor.
The embattled governor is now penniless and was reportedly advanced Sh1.5 million by an MP who is his close friend.
The money was for his upkeep and to pay the lawyers representing him in the graft case.