Mike Sonko arrives at Wilson airport after his dramatic arrest. PHOTO/ Reuters
Mike Sonko arrives at Wilson airport after his dramatic arrest. PHOTO/ Reuters

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was once a convict in Shimo La Tewa prison in Mombasa.

Recently, prison authorities accused Sonko, 44, of escaping from a maximum facility 20 years ago.

Court papers filed by the office of Director of Public Prosecutions say Sonko claimed in an affidavit that he was ailing from at least four life-threatening conditions as he sought to secure his release from prison 18 years ago.

The governor had in 2001 said in an affidavit that he was HIV positive and epileptic.

‘I had HIV!’ Sonko reveals

Sonko also said in an affidavit that he was suffering from chronic tuberculosis and peptic ulcers.

High Court judge Samuel Oguk released Sonko from prison three months before completing his one year sentence because he was HIV positive.

Oguk, now deceased, issued the judgement in application No 80 of 2001.

The governor had applied for a review of his sentence after serving nine months for the offence of failing to appear before a court for the offence of escape from lawful custody.

According to a brief to the prosecution prepared by Commissioner General of Prisons Wycliffe Ogallo, Sonko was discharged from prison in 2001 based on the strength of his appeal to be released on medical grounds.

“However, the institution does not know how his (Sonko’s) escape case was dispensed at the chief magistrate’s court Mombasa, and also how other cases were dispensed by the chief magistrate’s court Nairobi and the senior principal magistrate’s court Kibera,” says Ogallo in the brief dated December 9.

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Ogallo said Sonko escaped from lawful custody on April 16, 1998, while he was admitted for treatment at the Coast Provincial General Hospital.

Sonko who was then serving a jail term at the Shimo La Tewa Maximum Prison, remained at large until he was identified as an escapee while at Nairobi remand for another offence.

The governor had been arrested in 2000, some two years after leaving Shimo La Tewa prison and charged with another criminal offence.

The officer in charge of the Industrial Area Remand Prison where he was held alerted Shimo La Tewa Prison officer that they have Sonko in custody.

He was later on transferred to Kamiti Prison.

The prison authorities also reveal that Sonko was sentenced to six months in jail or a fine of Sh200,000 for failing to attend court over a case of making documents without lawful authority.

He was also ordered to pay Sh500,000 fine or serve six months in prison for failing to appear in court for the case of impersonation.

Photos of the hard life Jowie will experience inside Manyani Prison

Since he could not raise the fines, Sonko was committed to Shimo la Tewa to serve both sentences concurrently for 12 months.

Ogolla also says that the governor’s impersonation case is still pending at the chief magistrate’s court in Mombasa.

In case number 1727/1996, the governor was convicted for the offence of impersonation but failed to appear in court for hearing of his cases after obtaining a surety bond of Sh100,000.

Sonko has downplayed claims that he escaped prison by faking illness and sneaking out of the hospital.

“These are things that happened 23 years ago and I have been cleared that is why I ran for public office,” the governor said in a radio talk show on November 24. They should go to their records, conduct their investigations and we can meet in court,” he added.

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