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Mike Sonko’s Sh14m corruption case postponed over Covid-19 order

The trial of former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko in a Sh14 million graft case has been postponed to April 19 following the suspension of open court sessions due to the rapid spread of Covid-19.

Sonko appeared in person before Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Peter Ooko some minutes to 9am as a hearing against him and two others had been scheduled to commence.

The former governor waited several hours in court and then left.

Mr Ooko issued the directive when lawyers Evans Ondieki, Migai Oketch and Paula Atukunda, for Sonko and the two other suspects, appeared before him for fresh directions.

He cited a directive by acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, which suspended open court sessions indefinitely due to the pandemic.

The magistrate apologised to the lawyers and accused persons for the delay in giving directions in the matter.

The new date was set after a second mental examination report from Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) stated that Sonko was fit to stand trial. The report was presented to the court two weeks ago while Mr Ooko was away.

The case will be mentioned virtually on April 7.

Other suspects

As the new directions in the case were being issued Monday, Milimani Chief magistrate Francis Andayi had a tough time explaining to suspects why their pending cases had to be suspended.

Some of the suspects said they feared warrants of arrest would be issued against them for skipping court while others said they did not have smartphones and therefore could not follow proceedings virtually.

Mr Andayi said “everyone was caught unawares by the directive since it was issued on March 28”.

He asked the suspects to await fresh directions from home and to heed the government’s directives for curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

He further assured the suspects that no warrants of their arrest will be issued since no magistrates are sitting.