Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]
The walls are closing in on Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, following his arrest yesterday over his alleged involvement in corruption at City Hall.
Sonko was arrested in Voi while on his way to Mombasa a few hours after Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji announced that he would be arrested on suspicion of high level corruption.
After an investigation that the DPP said was made challenging by obstruction, intimidation and constant threats to the investigators, Haji said the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) had acquired evidence to prosecute Sonko and eight other county employees for the theft of Sh357 million.
“Investigations into these crimes have been challenging because of the repeated attempts by the accused to obstruct the course of the investigation by deploying intimidation tactics in addition to using goons to threaten law enforcement officials,” the DPP said yesterday.
SEE ALSO :Mike Sonko, his highs and lowsThe charges against the governor range from abuse of office, conflict of interest, unlawful acquisition of public property, money laundering, conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption, to willful failure to comply with procurement laws.
Others on the radar of investigative agencies include County Secretary Peter Mbugua, Head of Supply Chain Management Patrick Mwangangi, members of the Negotiation, Tender Opening and Evaluation Committee Samuel Ndung’u, Edwin Kariuki, Lawrence Mwangi and Preston Mwandiki as well as clerical officers Wambua Ndaka and Andrew Nyasiego.
Haji is also going after some six companies and their directors who had a hand in plundering the richest county in the country.
For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.
Hardi Enterprises Limited and Toddy Civil Engineering are directly linked to funds stolen from the county while Web Tribe Limited, Arbab Auto Limited, High Energy Petroleum Limited and ROG Security Limited are suspects in the laundering of Sh24.1 million.
Those whose arrest warrants were issued yesterday include Hardi Enterprises Limited and Toddy Civil Engineering directors Anthony Ng’ang’a and Rose Ng’ang’a, respectively, Antony Ombok, (Arbab Auto Limited, High Energy Petroleum Limited and ROG Security Limited), Web Tribe Limited directors Danson Njunji, Robert Muna and their agent Zablon Ochomo as well as Fredrick Odhiambo who is a partner at Yiro Enterprises.
Sonko has been on the radar of detectives over a tender to collect garbage and a trail of payments uncovered by the EACC from companies doing business with the county and percentages of which were allegedly laundered back to the governor’s bank accounts.
In an affidavit filed at the anti-corruption court, the EACC says Sh27.4 million was wired into Sonko’s accounts at Equity Bank from three companies, which had been awarded multi-million-shilling contracts by the county.
The EACC says Arbab Auto Ltd received Sh23.3 million from Amaco Assurance, which runs the contract to insure county government vehicles, and then wired Sh17 million to Sonko.
Yiro Enterprises Ltd and Web Tribe, which operates JamboPay and was until May this year providing e-payment revenue collection for the county, sent Sh14.1 million and Sh10 million, respectively to ROG Securities Ltd.
ROG Securities Ltd then later sent Sh10.4 million to Sonko.
Arbab and ROG Securities Ltd are both owned by Ombok who was in October 2017 appointed as the governor’s communications advisor.
Yiro is among companies, including Hardi Enterprises Ltd, which won the contact to collect garbage in the city.
Prior to the remittances to Sonko, all the companies had received money from the county government as payments for contracts.
The DPP said yesterday the companies were criminally culpable for laundering up to Sh24.1 million.
Their directors, he said, would be charged with unlawful acquisition of public property, money laundering and acquisition of proceeds of crime.
Haji has warned the suspects against attempts to intimidate, threaten and malign investigating officers and agencies and using the public to derail their prosecution.
“…any attempts to instigate social unrest and incite the public will be countered with the whole of government response,” said Haji.
“Members of the public are advised not to allow themselves to be used as human shields in the defence of these officials charged. Any person who engages in such behaviour will be dealt with by whole of government and held individually liable.”
Sonko’s arraignment will likely alter the course of City Hall and serve to slip the office from his grasp.
From the corruption charges, his lack of a deputy, flooding in the city, and a chaotic transport system, the chickens are finally coming home to roost.
Since Sonko does not have a deputy governor, it will also put the county in uncharted waters, going by the precedent set by the High Court, which blocked Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal and Kiambu’s Ferdinand Waititu, who have both been charged with corruption, from accessing office and effectively charged the county to their deputies.
Given his inclination to overt gestures, Sonko posted a picture of him sitting alone at the head of a gilded dining room, that caused furore online.
A statement from his office yesterday downplayed his tribulations and captured the governor’s thoughts on his predicament as a “choreographed lie”, “temporary insubordination”, and “political trap”.
Meanwhile, the governor will spend the weekend in custody after the Anti-Corruption Court turned down the his bid to be released on bond.
Do not miss out on the latest news. Join the Standard Digital Telegram channel HERE.
Governor SonkoCity HallDirector of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji
Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard
Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.
However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard
President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow
Drastic life changes affecting mental health
Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.
Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.
Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.
The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.
Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 20153
With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.
In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020. It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.
A study by Dr. Habil Otanga, a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.
KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.
Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.
As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.
“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”
Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.
“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.
Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.
“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”
Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.
“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.
Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.
Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.
She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.
Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.
“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added
Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.
“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and also engage in reading that would help expand their knowledge.