Ministry of Defence 'knew nothing about fake Sh39b arms deal'

In soup: Former Sports CS Rashid Echesa. [Standard]

Complainants in the alleged fraudulent fake Sh39 billion arms deal have never been to the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Ulinzi House, the ministry says.

In a statement to newsrooms today, the MoD distanced itself from the fake arms procurement scam, adding that the complainants did not interact with any official mandated to represent the MoD.

The statement comes shortly after former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and three others were freed on Sh1 million bail each after denying fraud charges in a military arms deal.

Echesa was arraigned alongside Daniel Omondi, Clifford Okoth and Kennedy Mboya.

The four were accused of, among other things, attempting to obtain Sh39,544,200,000 from a foreigner by pretending they would award him a tender by the State Department to supply military equipment.

But the ministry reiterated that all documents and content displayed in the media in the matter did not originate from the MoD.

Investigators and the complainants visited Ulinzi House today to ascertain the officers and offices they allegedly accessed.

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"We have an elaborate procurement process that ensures transparency and accountability of any procurement process as guided by the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Act (2016)," reads the statement signed by Public Communications director Bogita Ongeri.

Detectives probing the Sh39 billion military surveillance equipment deal involving Echesa raided the Harambee House Annex to obtain crucial leads.

In the raid said to have been conducted on Friday, detectives checked into the building which houses Deputy President William Ruto to view CCTV footage.

The police plan to question top aides and staff of the DP over the military equipment tender deal after it emerged that much of the deal was negotiated and thrashed out within the DP’s Harambee House Annex office on a number of occasions.

Police believe the staff had information on the conception and execution of the deal.

Echesa is said to have used the Office of the Deputy President and the signature of Defence Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma to cut the fraudulent multi-billion-shilling deal to supply military surveillance equipment and guns.

The complainant, who is an American based in Poland, told the police Echesa approached them through e-mail, introducing himself as a Kenyan politician who would hook them up with a lucrative Sh39.5 billion tender.

To show commitment, he is reported to have asked them to pay a firm known as Pizzle Consultancy $115,000 (Sh11.5 million) as a consultancy fee.

The complainant said Echesa summoned the directors of the company into the country and had a meeting at a Nairobi hotel in the presence of people dressed in military uniform.

One of them introduced himself to the investors as a general who would be the user of the military equipment to be supplied to the Department of Defence.

The directors then arranged a trip for Echesa and three others to Poland, the headquarters of the company to inspect the surveillance equipment.

He said he would receive Sh52 million upon the signing of the contract after allegedly approving the standards of the equipment.

The two investors, an Egyptian and an American, were ushered in at Harambee House Annex where the deal was to be signed, in the Office of the Deputy President.

The "tender" document found both in the Office of the Deputy President and in Echesa’s car, bore the signature of CS Juma, among other senior ministry officials.

Forensic investigations on the signatures have been launched as part of the probe. [Additional reporting by Cyrus Ombati]

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fake Sh39 billion arms dealFormer Sports CS Rashid Echesa