Sonko forks out Sh1.8million in bills for his ‘new home’ at high end city hotel
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has found a new home at the luxurious Nairobi Safari Club, where since July, he has been occupying the presidential suite on the 16th floor.
Sonko’s stay at the high end hotel has in recent months raised eyebrows, with on most days, his official convoy being seen outside the luxury facility, which is located opposite the University of Nairobi.
And during this period, Sonko has forked out a total of Sh1,810,690 so far for his stay there.
The hotel, on instructions of the governor and on the request of this reporter, provided receipts for these payments.
But in response to Sunday Nation enquiries, Mr Sonko has said that he is paying from his own pocket for his four-month stay at the hotel in the iconic Lillian Towers that he added also served as his campaign headquarters for the August 8 General Election.
He said the county government is not paying for his stay as the facility serves as his private office.
“I have not taken even a single cent from the county to pay for the room. Even the money to buy milk for tea in my office comes from my own pocket,” he told the Sunday Nation on Friday, alluding to the fact that the Treasury is yet to release money to county governments.
On August 30, he paid Sh445,050 before another Sh 708,905 on September 22 with the latest payment of Sh656,735 made on October 21.
The receipts indicate that the governor is paying Sh10,000 per day for his room. Mr Dan Okello, a manager at the hotel who provided the payment statement, said the governor is charged a special rate given his length of stay.
Even though the elections have long ended, he has continued to receive delegations at the hotel.
“I am meeting people here for my private businesses which I don’t have to disclose to you,” he said when asked why he had continued to operate from the hotel.
The hotel is associated with prominent businessman Stanley Githunguri, who was the MP for Kiambaa constituency from 2007 to 2013. But, in an interesting twist, Sonko revealed to the Sunday Nation that he was considering buying it.
“I sold my plot (of land) at the Coast recently and I am looking for some more money to buy it,” he said. “I have known Mzee (Mr Githunguri) for some time and he is a good friend of mine.”
He did not disclose how much he is buying the hotel for and we could not independently confirm if such a transaction was under consideration.
But Mr James Kimani, an independent property valuer in Nairobi, estimated the cost of such property at Sh1 billion given its strategic location in the city centre.
With its unique maize-cob shape, the Nairobi Safari Club is one of the iconic buildings in the city. It opened in 1984 as a members club.
In another curious link, Governor Sonko nominated the hotel’s General Manager Allan Igambi Esabwa to the post of county executive for Commerce, Tourism and Co-operatives. He was recently vetted by the County Assembly and is awaiting approval.