In Summary
  • The multi-agency team had been relying on intelligence from the bodyguards and mobile phone signals to track the governor.
  • Detectives believe Owino and Kimenye were smuggling Mr Sonko to Tanzania through the small village of Mwaluvamba in Kwale.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko staged a dramatic dash for his freedom early Friday morning, but a series of blunders by him and his aides made the run short-lived as he was arrested in Voi, about 300 kilometres from Nairobi, as he drove towards Mombasa.

The decision to arrest him was made two days ago but it took 11 hours of high drama to finally put him in custody.

He is accused of, among other offences, abuse of office, and faces corruption charges over award of tenders in Nairobi.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji told a press conference in the city that Mr Sonko and his cronies presided over a corrupt system that led to the embezzlement of at least Sh357 million shillings.

Following his arrest, he is expected to be arraigned in court on Monday.

ESCAPE

In scenes straight from the gangland underworld, Mr Sonko went down kicking, screaming and biting.

A multi-agency team of officers drawn from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), and the Flying Squad had been trailing him for more than 10 hours, and were supposed to detain him before Mr Haji called a press conference in the morning.

But they were thrown off-tangent in the wee hours of Friday morning after Mr Sonko, in the company of two of his closest aides, made the dash towards Mombasa.

The multi-agency team had been relying on intelligence from the bodyguards and mobile phone signals to track the governor, but Mr Sonko and his team had switched off their phones before they jumped into several cars and sped off towards the Coast.

In Nairobi, the governor has homes in Nyari, Runda and Upper Hill. He also has another home at Mua Hills in Machakos, and two others in Nyali and Kwale at the Coast.

He was at his Upper Hill home on Thursday night preparing to attend a music awards ceremony on Mombasa Road when he got wind of the plan to arrest him.

ANTICIPATORY BAIL

He immediately switched off his mobile phones and ordered his aides to do the same before jumping into his car and speeding off in the direction of Mua.

He left behind the police officers assigned to him, and who had been given the task of informing EACC detectives of the whereabouts of the governor.

The job of guaranteeing that the governor was not arrested was assigned to his most trusted aides, Mr Mathias Owino, alias Swaleh, and Mr Peterson Kimenye, alias Shaw.

The two, who have not left Mr Sonko’s side in recent days, were supposed to help him get to a safe haven as his lawyers worked on a suit seeking to prevent his arrest and prosecution.

Detectives believe Owino and Kimenye were smuggling Mr Sonko to Tanzania through the small village of Mwaluvamba in Kwale.

He was to stay in Tanzania, they believe, for two weeks as his lawyers filed papers in court to stop his arrest.

With their mobile phones off, Mr Sonko and his aides were almost incognito.

At 5am Friday morning, as officials at the Directorate of Public Prosecutions prepared to call a press conference to announce orders to have the governor arrested, they were already on the road headed to the Coast, escorted by a small convoy of cars to avoid detection on the highway.

ROADBLOCKS MOUNTED

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