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Former CS Echesa acquitted in Sh39b arms tender case

NATIONAL
By Kamau Muthoni | December 4th 2021

Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa. [George Njunge, Standard]

Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa has been acquitted by the court in the Sh39 billion military guns tender saga.

Echesa was let off the hook after the Milimani Chief Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot found that the State did not prove that he was the source of forged documents.

Echesa was acquitted alongside Daniel Otieno Omondi, Kennedy Oyoo Mboya, and Clifford Okoth. The case against the four collapsed as the foreigners who had claimed they were allegedly duped never testified.

The magistrate also found that a CCTV footage produced in court only showed Echesa arriving at Deputy President William Ruto’s office at Harambee House Annex alongside two foreign nationals, then left.

"The footage did not show Echesa and his visitors commit any offence as they did not meet the host," Cheriuyot observed.

However, the court found that businessman Chrispin Odipo Oduor has a case to answer.

“I, however, place the fifth accused on his defense in the charge of being in possession of forged documents,” the magistrate ruled. The magistrate also found that the testimony before him indicated Ruto was not aware of what was happening in his office.

The five faced 12 counts of fraud-related charges. The Ex-CS had been accused of duping Eco Advanced Technologies that he would help them secure an arms tender at the Ministry of Defence, a deal in which he is accused of pocketing Sh11.5 million as consultancy fees.

The documents were allegedly used in a fake tender deal to supply the government with military surveillance equipment, guns, and ammunition.

Echesa was arrested last year following a complaint by two gun dealers who claimed he had swindled them Sh11.5 million they had paid as ‘consultancy fees’.

The foreigners from the US and Poland-based Eco Advanced Technologies LLC claimed the former CS had allegedly promised to use his influence to help them secure the multi-billion-shilling security tender.

It was claimed that one of the American merchants keen to win the tender to supply guns and ammunition had been hosted by the former CS at DP’s office.

The state’s star witness, Chief Inspector Miranda Nasikia, testified that the documents bore forged signatures claimed to be those of the then Defence CS Monica Juma and Major Francis Ogolla. The two, he said, were alleged to have signed the forged documents on behalf of Ministry of Defense and Department of Defense.

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