Fake arms case: Former CS Rashid Echesa fails to appear in court

Rashid Echesa

Former Cabinet Secretary for Sports Rashid Echesa.

Photo credit: File

Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa will appear in court later this month for his trial in a case where he and four others have been charged with conspiracy to commit a felony in fake arms deals.

Mr Echesa had been directed to appear before the trial magistrate on Monday for a defence hearing after the High Court reversed his acquittal last week.

The former CS, however, was not present in court and his lawyers informed the magistrate that he was bereaved. The matter was postponed to March 28 when the trial magistrate will give directions.

Mr Echesa had been charged alongside Mr Daniel Otieno Omondi alias General Juma, Clifford Okoth Onyango alias Paul, Kennedy Oyoo Mboya and Crispin Oduor Opiyo.

The trial court acquitted Mr Echesa on December 3, 2021, and others but placed Mr Opiyo on his defence after ruling that the prosecution had established a case against him.

The Director of Public Prosecutions appealed against the acquittal and High Court judge Kanyi Kimondo overturned the decision and directed the accused persons to appear before the magistrate for a defence hearing.

“From my analysis of that further evidence, I find that the Republic had established a prima facie case against the 1st to 5th respondents for the main charge of conspiracy to commit a felony,” said the judge.

Justice Kimondo also said the prosecution had established a case against all the accused persons on the charge of making a document without authority.

The trial court was informed that Mr Echesa, a former CS visited the office of the Deputy President on February 13, 2020, saying he had an appointment with then DP William Ruto.

He and his delegation were escorted to the second floor of the Deputy President’s office where they stayed in a VIP office for about 18 or 20 minutes.

Justice Kimondo, however, said he concurred with the trial magistrate that there was no sufficient evidence against Mr Echesa for impersonating a person employed in the public service.

The prosecution had claimed that the former CS presented himself to Kozlowski Stanley Bruno and Mamdough Mostafa Amer Lofty to be the Personal Assistant to the Deputy President.

Mr Echesa and his co-accused had also been accused of attempting to obtain USD 395, 442,000, which was equivalent to Sh39.5 billion then from Kozlowski Stanley Bruno by falsely pretending that they would be awarded a tender to supply military equipment to the Ministry of Defence.

On the conspiracy to commit a felony charge, the five are alleged to have conspired to make documents without authority.

The charge sheet stated that they made an end-user certificate, a Non-disclosure Agreement, and notification of award for a restricted classified tender letter from the Ministry of Defence, an offence they allegedly committed on diverse dates between October 2, 2019, and February 13, 2020.