FILE PHOTO: Nairobi’s Governor-elect Mike Sonko arrives for a Jubilee Party campaign rally at Uhuru park in Nairobi, Kenya August 4, 2017. Picture taken August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s public prosecutor on Friday ordered the arrest of the Nairobi County governor on suspicion of economic crimes, in one of the most high profile arrests since the government launched an anti-corruption push last year.
Noordin Haji, the country’s top prosecutor, told a news conference that he had sufficient evidence to order the arrest and arraignment of Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko.
He also named county government officials whom he said he had evidence to prosecute for various economic crimes, as well as a number of businesspeople over alleged money laundering related to Sonko’s alleged crimes.
Sonko’s whereabouts were not immediately clear.
He spends significant periods of time outside of Nairobi in his hometown of Machakos southeast of the capital. Calls to Sonko’s phone numbers went unanswered immediately after the prosecutor’s news conference.
Haji said the governor attempted to obstruct the investigations “by deploying intimidation tactics using goons to threaten law enforcement officials”.
He also warned the public against “being used as human shields” by any of those ordered arrested.
When Sonko reported to Kenya’s anti-corruption office for questioning, protests formed outside the office and police used teargas to disperse demonstrators.
Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Maggie Fick, Muralikumar Anantharaman and Michael Perry