Court to rule whether Sonko will travel to UAE for UN forum: DPP says he is travelling for personal luxury

Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko before a Nairobi court during past session

The court will make its ruling on 6th February whether to allow Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko to travel to the United Arab Emirates for official duties.

This is after the court heard the application by Sonko release his passport to enable him to travel for a United Nations sponsored event.

The director of public prosecutions opposed the application to have the court release his two passports (personal and diplomatic) on grounds that he is not travelling on official capacity.

The prosecution argued that the court barred the governor from office and therefore cannot purport to be going to perform his official duties by travelling to the UAE.

Anti-corruotion Chief magistrate Douglas Ogoti heard that the event(World Urban Forum) is sponsors by the UN yet the Governor has made payments using his personal money.

“The accused has made payments using his personal money therefore is not travelling for official duties but for personal luxury,” argued the DPP.

The DPP also wants to be granted time to verify the invitation letter addressed to the ministry of foreign affairs which was sent in September last year adding that the governor did not require two passports to travel to one destination.

Sonko’s lawyer George Kithi responded that the DPP has no intention of verifying the said letters saying that they have not taken any steps to do so since the serving of the application several days ago.

He also told the court that it is not prohibited that he uses his personal resources to attend an international forum and that the letter did not explain whether the UN is to cater for everything.

Sonko has been invited to attend the 10th session of the world urban forum set for 8th-13th Feb 2020 in the United Arab Emirates.

In his affidavit, the Governor said that the forum is recognised as the foremost global arena in the field of sustainable urban development and human settlement.

He argues that he has been invited In his capacity as the governor of Nairobi county and is expected to engage in discussion with other participants on the theme of the forum.

“The forum is important for the people of Nairobi as it is a strategic opportunity for multi-stake holders cooperation in the implementation of the new urban agenda and sustainabke development goals especially making cities and human settlement inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable,” said the lawmaker.

The court issued a ruling on 11th December 2019 that the governor deposit his passport and travel documents in court and that he should seek the court’s permission before travelling after pleading not guilty to to several charges of corruption, money laundering and abuse of office.