Nairobi governor Mike Sonko has vowed to continue fighting graft and dismantling corruption cartels in the county.
Sonko said he will not relent in the fight against corruption which he said sometimes involves the use of concealed recording gadgets and even in extreme cases, “entrapment,” as a defence lawyer would want it put.
“Those who ask for bribes from me know what I do,” the governor said.
The youthful and deeply philanthropic businessman turned politician moved a parked court in a 30-minute-testimony, punctuated with mirth and at times dangerously gravitating towards a heated exchange with a defence lawyer, against two officials of the Kenya County Government Workers Union who are charged with demanding KSh200,000 bribe from him.
KCGWU Nairobi branch chairman Benson Oliang’a and assistant treasurer John Muriuki are charged with soliciting the bribe to stop an impending strike in October last year.
“I was barely 20 days in office, I am alive to the needs of county workers and ensure they are paid between 27th and 30th of every month…” Sonko told the trial court
He said when he assumed office , more than 13, 000 county workers had threatened to call for an industrial action over delayed pay.
“I sent one of my assistants [Ogola] to meet them at their office after I received a letter from the union. He came back and reported to me that they were demanding Sh1 million to call off the strike as we continue with negotiations,” he said,“I told him I was consulting but I was buying time as I engaged the institution [EACC] mandated with fighting bribery,” Sonko said.
Sonko said he later sent Ogola to Integrity Centre to report Oliang’a and Muriuki’s demands.
Sonko said Ogola was fitted with audio and video recording gadgets to capture the bribe negotiations that helped the detectives to gather evidence against the two.
Engorged with cartels
“I never and will never give a bribe, watch out, If you call me for bribes I will record and expose you, corruption is evil…” the governor said.
Sonko said he assumed office when City hall stunk of corruption to the high heavens and engorged with cartels.
“I had no issues with the workers or their officials because I understood they had constitutional rights to demand their delayed salaries and go on strike. My problem was the demand of a bribe” the county chief testified.
He explained that after taking office, “I’ve never had delayed salaries. Yesterday, I disbursed KSh1.1 billion for salaries and statutory payments.”
The governor refuted claims that he was the one who had offered the bribe in order to save his political career.
Cripple the workers union
He admitted in court that he reports some of the corruption cases in the county government personally and sometimes he is usually fitted with recording gadgets to trap the perpetrators.
“I am used to these procedures by virtue of my relentless fight against graft,” the governor said.
In cross examination, Sonko was categorical :I do not offer bribes to anyone, those who ask the same from me known what I do. If I was the one who offered the bribe as alleged by the defense, the accused persons should have reported me to the EACC but they did not, l was the one who reported the same,” Sonko said.
He also denied claims that he was not in good terms with his employees and therefore wanted to cripple the workers union.