Echesa granted more time to appear in court over Ksh39 bi*lion firearm scandal

By , K24 Digital
On Mon, 4 Mar, 2024 18:11 | 3 mins read
Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa at a past funtion. PHOTO/Echesa/Facebook
Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa at a past funtion. PHOTO/Echesa/Facebook

A Nairobi court has ordered former Sports Cabinet Secretary (CS) Rashid Echesa to appear in court in person on March 20, 2024, over the Ksh39 billion fake arms scandal case.

Milimani Chief Magistrate Lucas Onyina on Monday, March 4, 2024, ordered Echesa to present himself in court after he failed to attend court as ordered by the High Court last week.

The magistrate made the directive after Echesa skipped court with his lawyer Collins Osewe saying he was bereaved and had travelled to Kakamega.

Lawyer Osewe informed the court that Echesa's co-accused person Clifford Okoth Onyango was also not present in court because he was bereaved and had travelled to Migori.

He urged the court to grant him more time to avail the two in court for them to inform the court on how they will tender their defence in the case.

Further, Echesa's lawyer stated that he was yet to discuss with his client how to deal with the matter after the High Court overturned their acquittal and placed them on their defences.

At the same time, Echesa and Okoth's co-accused persons Daniel Otieno Omondi, Kennedy Oyoo Mboya and Crispin Oduor Odipo presented themselves in court as ordered by the High Court.

Magistrate Onyina ordered Omondi and Mboya to deposit Ksh1 million cash bail to secure his freedom pending a hearing and determination of the matter.

Businessman Chrispin Oduor Odipo was however not ordered to deposit a cash bail since he had not been acquitted in three counts for being in possession of instruments to commit forgery offences and was still facing trial in court.

The magistrate ordered all five accused persons to appear in court on March 20, 2024, to inform the court on how they will tend their defence evidence.

Last week High Court Judge Kanyi Kimondo set aside the trial court finding that freed Echesa and his four accused persons in December 2021 and ordered for them to be placed in defence in the Ksh39 billion fake arms scandal case.

The five are accused of conspiracy to defraud the monies from two foreigners through a multi-billion contract to supply military equipment at Harambee Annex which housed the office of the former Deputy President now President William Ruto.

Judge Kimondo stated that the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) had built a strong case against Echesa and that the lower court should have found him with a case to answer and put him on his defence rather than acquitting him.

"Accordingly, their acquittal on December 3, 2021, under section 210 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) on those six counts is hereby reversed and set aside," Justice Kimondo ruled.

In the case Echesa, and his co-accused persons faced 15 counts of making a false document and conspiracy to commit a felony, obtaining money by false pretenses and impersonation.

The prosecution had claimed that Echesa presented himself to the foreigners, Kozlowski Stanley Bruno, the CEO of US-based ECO Advanced Technologies firm and Egyptian Mamdough Mostafa Lofty, as a personal assistant to Ruto in a bid to convince them to enter the controversial gun supply deal.

Foreigners are said to have been taken to a boardroom in the Deputy President’s office where negotiations and the Ksh39 billion fake arms contract deal were allegedly signed and an amount of Ksh11.5 million exchanged hands.

According to the prosecution, the plan by the accused persons to defraud the foreign businessmen started in October 2019.

“Between October 2, 2019, and February 13 2020, the accused attempted to obtain Ksh39.5 million from Bruno by pretending that he would be awarded a tender by the State Department of Defence to supply military equipment,” the charge sheet read.

The controversial tender documents dated February 13, 2020, allegedly signed at the DP's Annex office were between the government of Kenya represented by the Ministry of Defence and the supplier company ECO Advanced Technologies.

Oduor, a director of Pzel Company Limited had been accused of having received a Ksh11.5 million "kickback" on behalf of Echesa and others in the Ksh39 billion fake arms scandal.

According to a prosecution witness Chief Inspector Miranda Nasikia who testified in the case said the signatures of then Defence CS Monica Juma and Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Francis Ogolla purported to have given their consent on behalf of the Ministry and the DoD were forged in the multi billion dollar tender scam.

Other documents that the suspects are alleged to have forged in relation to the tender to supply military equipment purporting that the document was from the Ministry of Defence is an End User Certificate (EUC).

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