Police to question top Ruto aides over Sh40b guns fraud linked to Echesa
SEE ALSO :Ruto threatened me, claims MutuaIn one instance, the men posing as top military generals had dinner in a restaurants in Gigiri area and even met a senator, saluted him and hurriedly took their booked tables and seats. Tenders to supply firearms and ammunition are usually floated by respective departments that wants to procure the same. They include Department of Defence for the military, Ministry of Interior for the police, prisons and Kenya Wildlife Service. Yesterday, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) Chief Magistrate Lucas Onyina ruled that since some of the documents allegedly used by Echesa and his co-accused are in their houses, it is only fair to give the police time to search their residences to obtain the crucial evidence. The prosecution had argued that the release of the accused before searches would hamper the ongoing investigations. The magistrate however declined to grant the Special Crime Unit 21 days to detain the former CS and directed that he be released by 6pm on Monday, upon depositing a cash bail of Sh1 million. “There is no evidence to prove the accused are a flight risk to warrant their detention but since the police require time to search their houses, I will give them until Monday after which the accused will be released on a cash bail of Sh1 million,” Onyina ruled. They have been forbidden from contacting any of the witnesses lined up for the case. The prosecution had earlier made an application to hold Echesa for 21 days as detectives travel to the United States to gather more evidence. Politically instigated His defence however argued that his arrest was politically instigated because of his stance on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). Special Crime Unit investigator John Munjama, in his affidavit to support the application for detention, claimed that Echesa forged documents purporting that they were from the Ministry of Defence and Kenya Defence Forces to the foreign gun dealers. “He used the documents to prepare a contract between the Ministry of Defence and Eco Advanced Technologies LLC, a company belonging to Kozlowski Stanley Bruno, an American citizen with the intention to obtain money from him by false pretence,” swore Munjama. He said they arrested the former CS on Thursday after they received information that he, alongside Omondi, Mboya and Okoth were preparing to obtain money from Bruno in the name of awarding the guns supply tender. “Going by the evidence so far collected, we believe the accused were engaging in business of impersonating senior government officials, which is a threat to national security,” Munjama said. He said the documents were found hidden in Echesa’s car and they have reason to believe more evidence could be hidden in their houses and if released they could interfere with them before a search is carried out. Consultancy fee Munjama said investigators need to travel outside the country to establish some crucial facts, including existence of the company in the United States. Echesa was arrested following claims by the American businessman that the four had swindled him of Sh11.5 million he paid as consultancy fee for the contract to supply military surveillance equipment, guns and ammunition. But Echesa, through his lawyers, denied authoring the documents allegedly recovered from his vehicles by investigators. They also opposed their detention, arguing that the charges they are facing are minor and do not warrant the lengthy stay in custody as applied for by the prosecution. The magistrate directed that the case be mentioned on Tuesday next week for further directions. [Additional reporting by Paul Ogemba]
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