Kenya’s anti-graft watchdog, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, is reportedly investigating a controversial property deal between Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and the Kenya Railways pension scheme.
According to sale agreements, Sonko’s family is buying the property in Nairobi’s upmarket Upper Hill at Sh498.5 million.
Situated along Matumbato Road — right behind the five-star Radisson Blu Hotel — the property serves as Sonko’s private office. It is where the embattled governor has been operating from since he was barred from accessing City Hall over alleged corruption.
The contract was inked on April 30 last year, with Sonko forking out Sh144.6 million in a week to seal the deal with the former team of trustees of Kenya Railways staff retirement benefits scheme — Corporate and Trust Pension Services Ltd.
The Star reported on Tuesday that sources at EACC said the commission is investigating, among other things, where Sonko got the funds to purchase the property.
On Monday, EACC boss Twalib Mbarak wrote to the acting CEO of the scheme, Victoria Mulwa, to provide relevant documents by Wednesday. The papers include tender documents, minutes of the tender committee, sale agreements, payment documents, approved subdivision and the main title deed.
Mulwa is also expected to record a statement at Integrity Centre.
The two parcels sold to Sonko measure 0.7415 acres and 0.5003 acres and are adjacent to each other.
The Nairobi governor was set to pay Sh298 million for the first property and Sh200.5 million for the other.
For the first property, Sonko reportedly paid Sh26.6 million before the execution of the contract and a further Sh60 million seven days after the signing of the deal.
For the second parcel, the governor paid Sh18 million before signing the contract and a further Sh40 million in seven days.
This amounts to a total sum of Sh144.6 million that Sonko paid as initial installment.
The remaining Sh353.9 million was to be settled in 90 days upon receipt of “completion documents” including the original certificates of titles and rates clearance.
However, Corporate and Trust Pension Services Ltd had not provided the documents to Sonko by the time they left office in July last year.
The Star reported that EACC has since established the property belongs to the pension scheme and has asked its managers to halt any further transaction on the property.
“This is to ask you to halt the intended sale as the matter is under investigations,” Mbarak said in a letter dated April 29.
The property deal was signed between Corporate and Trust Pension Services Ltd directors James Olubayi and Anthony Kilavi, and a firm known as Primix Enterprises Ltd.
Sonko’s wife Primose Mwelu Mbuvi is one of the directors of Primix Enterprises Ltd.
James Kanyeki, a current trustee of the scheme, blames the former trustees for failure to provide documents to Sonko to complete the sale process.
He also alleges that they “drained” the scheme and withdrew, in unclear circumstances, some Sh22 million from the fund’s coffers long after their contract expired.
The matter is a subject of investigations by the DCI.