Sonko: I acquired my multi-million shillings property in Upper Hill legally
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has defended his acquisition of a multi-million shillings Upper Hill property, saying the purchase of the property was above board.
The governor, while clearing the air after it emerged that the deal for the acquisition of the property is now under the radar of investigative agencies, said he is the bona fide owner of the property hosting his private office.
This is after it was reported that the deal to acquire the property has been dogged with controversy, including claims the land was undervalued, with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission probing where the City Hall boss got the money to purchase the property and documents thereof including tender documents, minutes of the tender committee, sale agreements, payment documents, approved subdivision and the main title deed.
Governor Sonko, however, said he is the legal purchaser of the property in question, land LR. 209\6507 owned by the Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme.
He pointed out that he entered into an agreement with the Scheme’s Trustees to purchase the two portions of the land for Sh498.5 million on April 30, 2019 going ahead to pay Sh144.6 million as part payment in accordance with the contract.
He said the purchase happened after three tenders by the Trustees done between 2017 and 2019 of which they were successful bidders in the third tendering process.
“I therefore want to state that the EACC is yet to contact me or my lawyers in its quest to find the truth about the transaction if indeed there is an ongoing inquiry. As a Governor, I have nothing to hide and will gladly provide any documents required by the EACC should they ask me to do so,” said Governor Sonko, in a statement, on Tuesday.
Sonko further said he has occupied the property since May 22, 2017 when he entered into an agreement to lease the property for use as office space.
“The property then served as my campaign centre for the 2017 gubernatorial campaign and also as tallying centre for Jubilee party, for the Nairobi electoral seats,” he said.
While a tenant of the property between December, 2017 and December, 2018, the Pension Trustees advertised for an open tender to purchase parcels of the property under tender No. KRSBRS/013/PLM.2017 and tender No. KRSRBS/08/PLM.2018, but both bids were non-responsive.
He stated that the Trustees advertised for another bid in February 2019, under Tender No. KRSRBS/02/PLM.2019, which they bid successfully.
It is after the successful bidding process that they acquired the two parcels of land paying from his account at Diamond Trust Bank while some amounts paid from his lawyer’s accounts.
But according to the report, the property’s deal was signed between the trustee’s Limited directors and a firm known as Primix Enterprises Ltd with alleged links to his wife, Primose Mwelu, who allegedly signed the sale agreement alongside her co-director Mwajuma Hamisi.
“The transactions were done from my DTB account to Co-operative Bank accounts of the Pension Scheme Trustees through an RTGS while some of the amounts were paid from my lawyer’s accounts. The sources of this money can be provided,” said Mr Sonko.
However, Sonko was quick to link the alleged probe to his stand on terminating the Deed of Transfer of functions between City Hall and the State.
He claimed that the new development is not only malicious but is meant to intimidate him to go slow on some of the political and legal decisions he has taken in the last few weeks.
“I believe that the reports and alleged probe is malicious and may be a move to intimidate me to go slow on some of political and legal decisions I have taken in the last few weeks, specifically, my position on the transfer of functions to the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) and refusal to assent the Supplementary Appropriations Bill, 2020 into law,” he said.