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Sonko paid Sh4m to police officers who guarded him in Mombasa trip – report

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko faces fresh investigations after a Senate watchdog committee called on the anti-graft agency to open inquiries into wanton financial malpractices during his three-year tenure.

The Senate County Public Accounts Committee directed the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to launch investigations into loss of public funds running into billions at the county when Mr Sonko was at the helm.

The committee, chaired by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’, recommended that Mr Sonko be surcharged Sh4 million City Hall incurred in 2018 as payment to 33 police officers who were guarding the then-governor during a 22-day trip to Mombasa.

The senators also raised an issue with the Sh14.4 million flagged by the Auditor-General as used by the county government for intelligence gathering and countering terrorism in Nairobi.

“The committee has resolved that EACC recovers directly from Mike Sonko Sh4 million paid to the police officers. The money should be charged on him personally for violation of the Public Officers Ethics Act,” said Mr Kajwang’.

Also read: Mike Sonko’s millions leave a section of Kenyans miserable

Nyandarua Senator John Methu wondered why a governor would have so many officers by his side, saying “this is like having two police platoons guarding a single person”.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said the committee should also take up the matter with the Inspector-General of Police, adding that there is no way the government could have released 33 police officers to guard an individual.

Mr Kajwang’ said the matter should not take more than six months to prosecute.

“Some of these actions must be followed by consequences lest we become a banana republic. Imagine if all governors would be walking around with 33 police officers, how would the devolution conference look like for example?” he posed.

According to the Auditor-General, the county government should have reported Sh19.74 billion as annual revenue in the financial year ended June 2018 according to daily revenue summaries from the cash office.

However, the financial statement for the year only indicated Sh10.1 billion. According to the auditor, the following year City Hall again under-declared its revenues by Sh3.87 billion when only Sh10.1 billion was declared against Sh13.97 billion gleaned from records.

There is also the controversial medical insurance cover for county staff in which the contract sum was Sh1.072 billion but City Hall paid Sh1.72 billion.

In the financial year ending June 2019, there were unsupported legal fees to the tune of Sh595 million.

Also read: Drama alert! Sonko’s cash bragging continues, vows to build Robert Alai a house

The committee also called for a Mr Peter Ingwe, who signed some of financial statements despite not being a certified accountant, to be investigated and prosecuted for impersonation.

It also directed that the then Head of Treasury Johnson Abwori be reported to the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya for disciplinary action.

The auditor also flagged Sh209 million unaccounted for cash withdrawals, with Sh206 million withdrawn from Equity Bank for an unspecified payment.

The remaining Sh3 million was withdrawn from the Nairobi City County Trust fund account, ostensibly as cash bail refunds.

In the financial year ended June 2019, another Sh249.79 million was withdrawn in a similar manner. The committee heard that the withdrawals were done by a Mr Samson Kioi John who was acting as a chief cashier then handling imprests.

Governor Sakaja faulted the centralised imprest system that was being used at the time, saying it created an opportunity for siphoning of funds.

He further said that he suspects there are many accounts opened by individuals receiving money as City Hall, and asked the committee to help him compel banks to provide information on accounts that have been opened in the name of the county government.

Also read: Sonko flaunts millions in viral rant video: ‘I have money for wives, not children