A Kenyan court granted bail on Wednesday to the Nairobi County governor charged with multi-million dollar corruption in one of the most high profile cases in the government’s anti-graft push.
The move was opposed by the prosecution, which argued Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko was likely to interfere with witnesses and obstruct the investigation.
Sonko, an elected official from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee party known for his flamboyant lifestyle, was arrested on Friday.
He has denied charges of conspiracy to commit corruption, conflict of interest, failure to comply with procurement laws, unlawful acquisition of public property and laundering.
Corruption is a huge drag on the economy and investor confidence in East Africa’s business hub.
Since taking office in 2013, Kenyatta has repeatedly pledged to tackle graft and over the past year the country’s top prosecutor has charged dozens of officials, including the then sitting finance minister.
The President has not commented on Sonko’s case.
Magistrate Douglas Ogoti said the bail ruling took into account the presumption of innocence. He said Sonko would be freed after posting a bond of 30 million shillings ($296.000) with one surety of a similar amount and a cash bail of 15 million shillings.
Sonko, a former senator, was elected in 2017 after years of news splashes about his flashy fashion sense including chunky gold jewelry and eye-catching hairstyles.
The prosecution had also opposed the governor’s release on bail because they said he had previously escaped from custody following conviction in two criminal cases in the late 1990s.