Court denies Sonko permission to attend UN conference in UAE
The anti-corruption court has denied beleaguered Nairobi governor permission to travel to the United Arabs Emirates to attend a conference sponsored by the UN-Habitat on sustainable development of the city.
Milimani Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti said it was not clear how the governor got the conference’s invitation letter from his office.
This was in reference to the court’s order issued last December denying Mr Sonko access to his office due to the Sh357 million corruption case against him.
In the case, the court ordered that the governor should only access his office under supervision of an investigating officer attached to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).
“The applicant (Sonko) had been barred from office but could access it with an escort by the investigating officer. He needed to explain how he got the access. The court does not know how he got the letter,” said the magistrate, rendering blow to the governor.
He added that the invitation letter could, therefore, not be verified.
In addition, there was no a clearance from the government of Kenya allowing the governor to fly to the event, with the prosecution saying the travel was for leisure.
The magistrate was ruling on the governor’s application to have his passports and travel documents released by court so as to attend the conference in Abu Dhabi next week.
In what appeared to be governor’s high level of confidence that the court would grant his application, his lawyer George Kithi had said the City boss had made travel bookings.
The court heard that the governor had even made hotel reservations in Abu Dhabi using his personal finances and resources.
In the application, the lawyer attached Mr Sonko’s travel booking documents, his address of temporary domicile in Abu Dhabi and telephone contacts of the hotel that he will be accommodated.
The governor had stated that he had been invited to attend the tenth session of the World Urban Forum which takes place from February 8-13 in Abu Dhabi.
Through lawyer Kithi, the governor had said his ordinary and diplomatic passports were in custody of the court having deposited them on December 11, 2019 as a condition to have him released from detention on bond terms.
Upon release, the flamboyant county chief was required to be seeking permission of the court before travelling.