U.S. bans entry of former flamboyant Nairobi governor Mike Sonko, family

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The former Nairobi governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko has been banned from traveling to the US along with his immediate family members over corruption allegations while he was in office.

According to the Tuesday announcement by Counselor for Public Affairs Eric Watnik at the US Embassy in Nairobi, Sonko’s ban from the US is based on "involvement in significant corruption” during his short tenure at City Hall.

The popular and flamboyant former Nairobi governor, his wife Primrose Mbuvi, his daughters Saumu and Salma and his underage son have been deemed ineligible for entry into the US and have also been banned to engage in any form of business with the US.

The flashy politician is currently facing over 30 charges of money laundering, receiving bribes and conflict of interest in Kenya, accusations he pleads not guilty.

He was a controversial politician who has spent time in jail -- for failing to respect court dates -- and has had to deny allegations of illegal activities, including drug trafficking.

He is beloved by poor Kenyans for running his personally branded fire trucks and ambulances to assist people living in the slums.

He is also known for his style mimicking an American rapper, dripping with expensive gold and diamond jewelry, wearing bright colours, and on occasion, golden shoes. He recently drew criticism for displaying his opulent dining room on social media.

He also has a fleet of gold-colored cars.

Kenya has for decades battled the scourge of corruption, and President Uhuru Kenyatta -- like many presidents before him -- has vowed to combat graft.

Dozens of top executives and government officials have been charged since Kenyatta's 2017 re-election, including sitting Finance Minister Henry Rotich who was in July charged over an alleged multi-million dollar corruption scandal.

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