Nairobi Governor Sonko’s pre-trial hearing deferred

Written By: Beth Nyaga
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Nairobi Governor Sonko's pre-trial hearing deferred
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The pre-trial hearing of the corruption case facing Nairobi City County Governor Mike Sonko has been pushed to the 27th of this month.

This is after a dispute arose between the defence and prosecution over the manner in which the hearing was to proceed.

State Prosecutor James Kihara told the court that the matter was coming up for mention to confirm the status of another case in the High Court on the disclosure of evidence.

Kihara said the ruling of a High Court case before Justice John Onyiego is scheduled for Wednesday next week and urged the deferment of the graft case until after that ruling.

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This was however immediately objected by Sonko’s lawyer Cecil Miller who told the court that no order was given to await the outcome of the High Court case.

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Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi, however, directed that the matter be mentioned before Anti-Corruption Court Magistrate Douglas Ogoti to determine whether he had made any such ruling.

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This comes shortly after the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) froze five bank accounts belonging to Sonko as it investigates possible claims of theft of public funds and money laundering.

The accounts were frozen in late December but Sonko has challenged the orders, which also allowed the agency to look at his statements of accounts, account opening statements, cash and cheque deposit slip, withdrawals and RTGS from January 2017 to date.

A Nairobi magistrate had given ARA 90 days to investigate the accounts together with those of two other persons and companies, both of who are facing graft charges together with Sonko.

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Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku directed all the banks named in the court documents to be served and respond to Sonko’s application challenging the freeze orders. She also directed all parties to appear before her on January 27 to argue the application.

The named banks are KCB Group, Diamond Trust Bank, DTB, I&M Bank, Sidian Bank, National Bank of Kenya, Bank of Africa, Equity Bank, Co-operative Bank and Credit Bank.

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