The DPP Noordin Haji has rejected the move by embattled Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to nominate a deputy, terming it illegal as the governor’s bail terms barred him from executing his duty as a governor until the corruption case against him is heard and determined.
“Sonko cannot purport to have the powers to name a deputy while his case is still active. His action is null and void,” cautioned Haji.
According to City lawyer Steve Ogolla, DPP is right as Sonko has got no legal backing to appoint a deputy, going by Justice Mumbi Ngugi’s ruling.
“Sonko cannot lawfully appoint Deputy Governor during the pendency of his corruption charges. Justice Mumbi Ngugi’s ruling, read in its entirety, effectively means Sonko cannot lawfully perform county functions, including appointing a Deputy,” he said.
The cattle dip lawyer-cum Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen was of the contrary opinion with Ogolla and Haji saying Sonko had not violated his bail terms by appointing a deputy.
“Going by our earlier interpretation of the Court of Appeal decision, Governor Sonko has not violated his bail terms by appointing a Deputy Governor. In any case there is no connection between appointments and protection of evidence relating to DPP’s case,” Murkomen posted on Twitter.
Sonko in a statement on Monday, nominated Anne Mwenda as a Deputy Governor and urged the County Assembly to vet her for formal appointment.
“Given the foregoing, and in the interest of ensuring stability Nairobi and the largest County by economy and population, I do hereby nominate Anne Kananu Mwenda to the position of Deputy Governor. As a law abiding citizen, I will continue to abide by the bail terms granted to me and ensure the operations of the county are not affected in anyway,” read the letter.
The governor said the move was in line with article 180(5) of the Constitution and the Supreme Court Advisory of March 2018.
Anti-corruption Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti had last December slapped the governor with tough conditions after releasing him on a cash bail of Sh15 million.
“I order that the first accused (Sonko) be barred from accessing his office as the governor and if need be, he can only be escorted by the investigating officer to collect his belongings from the office,” ruled Mr Ogoti.
Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and his Samburu counterpart Moses Lenolkulal have also been barred by a court order from holding office after being charged with corruption offences.