Echesa to remain in custody amid extortion ring probe

Former Sports CS Rashid Echesa's lawyers Cliff Ombeta and Danstan Omari at DCI headquarters where the accused was taken for questioning. Rashid was arrested for his alleged role in extortion targeting Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa will spend another night in police cells pending arraignment. 

The former CS  was denied bail yesterday evening despite making frantic efforts to secure his release through lawyers Danstan Omari and Cliff Ombeta.

After about 30 minutes of interrogations at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) headquarters on Kiambu Road, Echesa was taken back to Muthaiga Police Station where he will spend a second night in custody. 

In their application to the DCI seeking his release, the two lawyers argued that their client’s health had deteriorated and he needed urgent medical attention.

“We wrote that letter in the morning and told the DCI that, at no cost, Waziri should be released on cash bail, so that the family takes him to hospital or the police take him to hospital,” said Omari. 

He added: “Unsatisfied with that explanation, the police decided to pick our client from Muthaiga Police Station and bring him to be investigated.” 

Omari said the grilling did not last as Echesa’s health worsened but he was still “taken back to Muthaiga police station.” 

According to his lawyers, Echesa was picked by the DCI sleuths from his Karen home on Thursday and taken to Muthaiga Police Station to aid in investigations on allegations of abduction and extortion. 

“We have been allowed to see him. We understand they are investigating claims of extortion and abduction which we don’t know more about,” he said.

The DCI is, however, yet to comment regarding the former CS’ arrest. Ombeta criticized the country’s justice system for what he said is a violation of suspects’ rights, including the right to acquire bail.  “He has not escaped. He has no reason to run away. He is a government official,” he said. 

The former CS is the chairman of the Kenya Water Towers Authority.

They accused Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa of having a hand in the former sports CS’ woes.  “Barasa needs to show us this Sh240 million. How did he give it out? These are some of the things the officers need to interrogate,” he said. 

Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale said Echesa’s tribulations were a political witch-hunt. “The governor of Kakamega might be holding some forces within the criminal justice system captive,” the Senate Majority Chief Whip lamented.