Former Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa will be detained at Gigiri Police Station for another night after a Kiambu court deferred its ruling on bail on Monday.
Echesa appeared before Kiambu Chief Magistrate Patricia Gichohi where he is facing charges for allegedly assaulting an election official on March 4, 2021, during the recent by-election in Matungu, Kakamega County.
The former Sports CS is alleged to have committed the offences at Bulonga Primary School where he was recorded on camera slapping an electoral official.
The prosecution had, through the investigating officer, Misheck Kagera, who is attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Serious Crimes Unit, made a miscellaneous application in court seeking to detain the respondent for seven days to enable them conclude investigations.
Kagera told the court in an affidavit that Echesa is a ‘habitual offender’ and is likely to interfere with witnesses if released on bond.
“On 4th day of March, 2021 at Bulonga Polling Centre in Matungu Constituency within Kakamega County, with others, [Echesa] assaulted one Peter Juma Okula Khatetethe, presiding officer during the just-concluded Matungu Constituency by elections,” said the investigating officer.
Further, Kagera informed the court that if the respondent is released on a cash bail, he is likely to interfere with witlessness by intimidating them.
But the defence, led Cliff Ombeta, told the court that the allegations the respondent is facing are triumphed up, only seeking to discredit his client.
Ombeta also told the court that Echesa was not arrested by police officers as alleged but had surrendered himself.
“The respondent has not been brought to court with good intention. The prosecution has not even attempted to show how the accused has directly or indirectly tried to intimidate the witnesses,” the lawyer argued.
But the prosecution explained that the former CS was moved to Nairobi and then Kiambu Law Courts because police had intelligence that his supporters were planning to cause chaos and storm a police station that he had been held briefly at.
However, Ombeta rubbished the claims, saying the prosecution team came to court with a fixed mind, to have his client held in custody for longer.
“Let the court protect his dignity. He is a respectable person who is a former Cabinet Secretary. The State has come here with an intention he stays in custody,” the lawyer said.
Known for attracting huge crowds in public rallies, none of his political friends turned up at the Kiambu Law Courts except former Mombasa Senator Omar Hassan.
The court will make its ruling on whether he will be released on bond or not at 11am.