Ex-CS Rashid Echesa freed on Ksh.1M cash bail in military arms deal

Ex-CS Rashid Echesa freed on Ksh.1M cash bail in military arms deal

Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and three others have been freed on a Ksh.3 million bond with a surety of a similar amount or a Ksh.1 million cash bail each after denying fraud charges in a military arms deal.

Echesa was on Monday arraigned alongside Daniel Otieno Omondi alias General Juma, Clifford Okoth Onyango alias Paul, and Kennedy Oyoo Mboya.

The four were accused of, among other things, attempting to obtain a total of Ksh.39,544,200,000 from a foreigner by falsely pretending that they would award him a tender by the State Department to supply military equipment.

The suspects pleaded not guilty to all counts – obtaining money by false pretences, conspiracy to commit a felony, uttering a false document – with Echesa terming the case a political witch hunt.

The prosecution – led by Jacinta Nyamosi – had earlier objected to Echesa’s release claiming he would interfere with witnesses and evidence, further adding that the Ksh.1 million previously slapped on him by the JKIA court was lenient.

Echesa, through lawyer Cliff Ombeta, however stated that there was no reason to deny him bail, also urging the court to consider his bail/bond terms since he is presently unemployed.

“Echesa is no longer a minister, he is jobless and may not raise (the money if) given high bond terms, this will be denying their freedom…consider this,” said Ombeta.

The court ruled that: “In this case, the prosecution has not brought any evidence to show that the accused is likely to interfere with witnesses…the prosecution has failed to prove compelling reasons.”

The defence team also sought the release of two motor vehicles being held following the suspects’ arrest saying “we have not been told if the offences were committed using those vehicles.”

“During the search in Echesa’s house, two firearms were taken by the officers and this was done against the court order issued by Justice Njangi of the Kakamega High Court. From the charge sheet there’s no offence that has been committed using the firearms,” said Echesa’s lawyers.

The prosecution however urged the court to dismiss the plea saying the cars and the firearms are exhibits and that it will be premature to release them.

“It might prejudice the investigation. Investigations are ongoing and it’s after investigations are completed that we can certainly release the cars,” said the prosecution.

The court hence denied the plea to have the cars and firearms released, urging the defence team to make a formal application.