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Skip court at your own risk, magistrate tells Sonko in Sh10m graft case

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at the Milimani Law Courts on March 4, 2021.

 

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko will face dire consequences if he does not appear in court Tuesday for the hearing of a Sh10 million corruption case. Anti-Corruption Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti issued this warning on Monday, saying Sonko has to be in court physically despite a report that says he is unfit for trial. Mr Ogoti noted that the latest medical report on the ex-governor’s mental fitness contradicts an initial one by four doctors at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH). He faulted Sonko’s new defence team, made up of veteran lawyer Dr John Khaminwa, Assa Nyakundi and Wilfred Nyamu, for obtaining a fresh report without seeking the court’s permission. “What I am saying is that the court deserves respect. It should not be handed a medical report which it was not asked to call for,” Mr Ogoti said while delivering a ruling on whether or not the former governor should attend court. Mr Ogoti had been informed that for as long as Sonko is unwell, the case may take even 10 years. He said such a stand may erode gains made so far in the administration of justice.

Second KNH report
Last Friday, Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi said a Sh14 million graft case against Sonko will be mentioned on March 22, for fresh directions to be issued, after his lawyers said “he is not fit to stand trial due to a mental condition”. Mr Mugambi said a second report from KNH will be opened before Senior Principal Magistrate Peter Ooko. Mr Ooko called for the report in order to compare it with the second one, which was by a doctor based at the Nairobi Hospital. In his arguments, Dr Khaminwa told the court that Sonko is frail and requires “total rest” as his doctors directed. He informed the magistrate that he will make applications on this when his client appears in court on Tuesday. Two weeks ago, Mr Ogoti told the new team of lawyers that the Sh10 million graft case, which stalled after the former lawyers quit the trial, will proceed with or without a defence team. – nation.co.ke