The Anti-Corruption Court has ordered the Nairobi Hospital chief executive and the EACC to present the ailing former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko on Thursday morning.
Sonko was admitted to the private facility last month, the initial report being that he had stomach complications. Last week, his lawyers said he needed to travel to South Africa for a hip replacement surgery.
On Tuesday, Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Peter Ooko directed the CEO and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) officer in charge of prosecutions to “secure Sonko’s court attendance” at 9am for the hearing of his Sh14 million corruption case.
The magistrate gave the order after the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) officer commanding station (OCS) failed to produce Sonko in court as directed on Monday.
Deputy OCS Ezekiel Lulei told Mr Ooko that they could not produce the former governor in court due to an order for police “not to interfere in any manner with Sonko until he is discharged from Nairobi Hospital”.
Inspector Lulei said police cannot violate a court order as they will be held in contempt.
But a State prosecutor differed with the officer, saying that the order was issued by a court of concurrent jurisdiction, so it does not bar a court at the same level from issuing a similar production order.
The prosecutor also said the order police cited expired on February 26 and that no fresh one was issued.
In his brief ruling Mr Ooko said, “I have perused all the medical reports and the Kahawa magistrates’ court’s [ruling] about Sonko. Nowhere has it said he cannot stand trial and neither is he incapacitated such that he can’t follow the proceedings.”
Sonko’s lawyers, Dr John Khaminwa, Wilfred Nyamu and Paula Atukunda, had said he should be allowed to continue receiving treatment without any disturbance whatsoever.
“Sonko is scheduled to be flown to South Africa for specialised treatment,” Mr Nyamu told the magistrate.
The defence submitted to the court a detailed confidential report on the former lawmaker’s health.
Dr Khaminwa said the court should move its sittings to Nairobi Hospital if it wants their client present.
Ms Atukunda asked the court to balance the rights of all parties in the corruption case and allow Sonko to recover.
“Although I urge this court to be alive to the provision of Article 50 (2) (e) of the Constitution, that criminal cases be concluded within a reasonable time, I plead with the court to put into consideration Sonko’s health,” she said.
The magistrate also heard that Sonko is scheduled to appear at a Kahawa court at 2.30pm on Wednesday for directions on whether he should be detained for 30 days for interrogations by the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU), on allegations that he is linked to terror.
The ex-governors will first appear before Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti on Thursday.
He will then be presented before Mr Ooko for further directions on the trials of two of the three corruption cases he faces, which involve a sum of at least Sh300 million.
Dr Khaminwa and Mr Nyamu applied for a 6-day adjournment of the Sh14 million graft case to enable them acquire files from Sonko’s former lawyers Cecil Miller and George Kithi.
Sonko has denied the charges and was released on bond.