Echesa, 3 other suspects out on Sh1 million bail

Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa. [Standard]

Details yesterday emerged of how former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa conspired to obtain Sh39.5 billion through a fake contract for the supply of military equipment.

Echesa was charged alongside Daniel Otieno Omondi, Clifford Okoth and Kennedy Mboya with 12 counts ranging from forgery, obtaining money by false pretence and impersonating senior government officials.

The charges also detailed how the four accused persons turned Deputy President William Ruto’s office into a crime scene through the falsification of documents.

The four denied the charges and were released on a cash bail of Sh1 million each. Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot set the hearing date for the case for March 3.

SEE ALSO: Former Sports CS Rashid Echesa arrested

In one of the charges, the prosecution, which was led by State Counsel Jacinta Nyamosi, claimed that Echesa presented himself to Kozlowski Stanley Bruno and Mamdouh Mostafa Lofty as a personal assistant of the deputy president in a bid to convince the businessmen to enter into a gun supply agreement.

The court heard that the plan to defraud the foreign businessmen started in October last year with meetings held in Ruto's office and the exchange of fake documents allegedly signed by senior military officials to sanction the deal.

"Between October 2 and February 13, 2020, the accused attempted to obtain Sh39.5 billion from Mr Bruno by falsely pretending that he would be awarded a tender by the State Department of Defence to supply military equipment,” read part of the charge sheet.

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Echesa, Omondi, Okoth and Mboya were also accused of obtaining Sh11.5 million from Bruno on October 21 by pretending they were in a position to help him secure a multi-billion shilling contract.

The four faced another charge of conspiracy to commit a felony where it was alleged that they conspired to make an end-user certificate and non-disclosure notification of award for tender, which allegedly originated from the Ministry of Defence.

Kenya Defence Forces

SEE ALSO: Former Sports CS Echesa arrested

The prosecution claimed that in their meetings with the gun suppliers, Echesa and his co-accused made and presented an agreement between the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and Eco Advanced Technologies LLC purporting it to be a genuine document issued by KDF.

The four faced another charge of forging a notification for the contract award, which was allegedly signed by the Defence PS RM Gicia with intention to defraud Polish gun supplier Howeli Investments.

They were also accused of extending the date of notification of the award on January 31 to hoodwink the foreign companies that the contract was genuine and approved by the Ministry of Defence.

“On February 13 at Harambee House Annex, with intent to defraud made an agreement for supply, delivery, installation, commissioning and maintenance of an integrated communication and security surveillance system between the Government and Eco Advanced Technologies purporting it to be a genuine document issued by State Department of Defence,” read the charge sheet.

But the suspects claimed through their lawyers that the charges were "politically instigated to malign Ruto."

SEE ALSO: Ruto office dragged into Echesa fake Sh39b gun deal probe

Evans Ondieki, representing Echesa, argued that the former CS was being persecuted because of his closeness to the DP, and that the charges were due to external pressure with nothing to prove he participated in the gun scandal.

"There are some political acrobatics surrounding the case that is meant to drag the name of the DP. They should not drag innocent people to court if they have a political issue to settle with the DP,” said Mr Ondieki.

The prosecution's attempt to have the suspects denied bail on the grounds that they would interference with witnesses and evidence was dismissed by the court.

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Rashid EchesaDeputy President William RutoSh39.5 billionKenya Defence Forces