Ken Osinde, the Chief of Staff at Deputy President William Ruto’s office, maintains that former Sports minister Rashid Echesa accessed the DP’s office for only 23 minutes, and not 1 hour and 22 minutes as believed following DCI boss George Kinoti’s revelations.
On Thursday afternoon, Kinoti played CCTV footage showing movements of persons who accessed Ruto’s office on the day Echesa is alleged to have signed a fake Ksh39 billion firearms deal with foreigners.
Osinde terms as “crooks and cartels” the persons who gained “unauthorised” access to the DP’s office on February 13.
"We appreciate efforts made by the DCI to investigate the fraudulent access to the Office of the DP by crooks and cartels as well as the death of Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei," said Osinde in his statement to the media.
According to Kinoti, the fake Ksh39 billion firearms scheme plot, that places Echesa at the centre of the crime, began to play out at 8:50am and ended at 10:02 am on February 13.
Kenei's last moments at Harambee Annex
Addressing journalists from the DCI Headquarters on Kiambu Road, Kinoti said the Late Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei -- who was believed to have a lot of information about the fake firearms deal -- interacted freely with Echesa and his chief accomplice Daniel Omondi alias General Juma.
In one of the interactions, the surveillance camera recordings showed Kenei speaking on phone before handing the device over to General Juma -- that happened at 8:58am.
Thirty-five minutes later, Echesa arrived at the DP’s office in a Range Rover vehicle of registration plate KCR 786H.
The ex-minister and his team, which comprised two men of Caucasian descent, thereafter accessed a boardroom via a VIP lift.
The meeting lasted for nearly 25 minutes, after which Echesa and his visitors left the building.
'We insist Echesa was at DP's office for only 23 minutes'
And now, DP Ruto’s junior who is in charge of all staff at Harambee House Annex, Ken Osinde, says despite Kinoti broadcasting a 1-hour-and-22 minutes footage, the persons of interest -- Echesa and his “delegation” -- could only be seen in the recording for 23 minutes, and not the entire 1-hour and 22-minutes.
“According to the CCTV footage, Rashid Echesa and his accomplices were inside the building from 9:38am to 10:02am as confirmed by the CCTV [recordings] aired at the DCI (headquarters) today [March 5],” said Osinde in a press statement dated March 5.
Terming Echesa’s access of the DP’s office as a “breach of security [that was] aided by some security officers [stationed at Harambee House Annex]”, Osinde said there was need for the DCI to “expedite investigations”.
The Chief of Staff also refuted allegations that the Kinoti-led team was frustrated when they sought full CCTV recordings of what happened at the Harambee House Annex on the morning of February 13.
'Footage was edited'
Kinoti had, earlier Thursday, said in his address that DP Ruto’s team edited the CCTV recordings and only made available 23 minutes of action, and not the entire 1-hour-and-22 minutes clip.
“The in-charge security [officer] refused to grant the [DCI] officers access to [the library] so that they [DCI officers] could extract the footage from the server. Instead, the in-charge security officer claimed it was not possible as it would allegedly interfere with the entire set-up,” said Kinoti, disclosing that the 23-minutes footage released to them only showed Echesa in the company of the foreign visitors.
“On February 20, 2020, DCI officers returned to Harambee House Annex and insisted on the entire footage, and to be extracted from the server by our experts. Despite protest, the same was allowed and our experts forensically examined the servers. As opposed to the earlier sentiments [that accessing the server would interfere with the ongoing recordings], we realised it was possible to extract the entire footage,” said Kinoti.
Osinde -- while denying Kinoti’s allegations that Ruto’s security officers objected to releasing the full footage -- said: “We confirm that all the tapes that were played out at the DCI headquarters to the media, were released by the security at the DP’s office on the request of the DCI.”
‘Kenei was killed’
In his Thursday address, Kinoti said investigations have ruled out the possibility that Kipyegon Kenei -- a security officer who was present when Echesa accessed the DP’s office -- committed suicide. Kenei was found dead in his house at Villa Franca Estate in Imara Daima on February 20.
Kinoti says he believes that Kenei was killed on the night of February 18, hours before he could record a statement with the DCI on what he knew about the Echesa scandal.
Kinoti revealed eight reasons he believes Kenei was killed, debunking speculations that the Late cop committed suicide.
Some of the reasons he listed include: lack of blood droplets on the floor where Kenei thudded against, lack of blood stains on the firearm Kenei allegedly used to shoot himself dead, the lack of gunshot sound on the night Kenei allegedly terminated his own life, among others.