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Union officials cleared in Sonko bribery case for lack of proof

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By RICHARD MUNGUTI
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Two officials of the Nairobi County Workers Union have been acquitted of the charge of demanding a Sh200,000 bribe from Governor Mike Sonko, in order to call off a strike over payment of salaries.

Union Secretary-General Benson Oliang’a Oriaro and Deputy Secretary-General John Bernard Murioki were on Wednesday cleared by the Anti-Corruption Court for lack of evidence.

The two had been charged with demanding Sh1 million from the governor but the amount was later reduced.

The allegations concerned a strike over the salaries for the month of September.

Mr Oriaro and Mr Muriko were also accused of demanding Sh194,000 and it was said they were given Sh50,000 on October 16, 2017.

In his ruling, Milimani Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti said the prosecution failed to prove its case.

The magistrate further noted that witnesses cited varying amounts as what the officials demanded..

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“I find no evidence to warrant [the further prosecution of the union officials], Mr Ogoti said before acquitting them.

In his testimony in September, the governor told the court that the officials issued the strike notice in a letter dated October 10, 2017.

The strike was called less than two months after he came into office, he noted.

Mr Sonko said he refused to give the Sh1 million and asked for time to consult relevant parties on how the salaries would be paid.

The governor told the court that he reported the matter to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, which sent its officers to the officials with treated money.

Mr Oriaro and Mr Muriko claimed they were set up.

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