Former Sports Cabinet Secretary, Rashid Echesa, was acquitted by a magistrate’s court in the Ksh39 billion fake arms deal that was reportedly committed at Deputy President William Ruto’s Harambee Annex office in Nairobi.
The court, on Friday, December 4, ruled that there was insufficient evidence to convict Echesa who had been accused of defrauding two foreign nationals by promising to award them a tender to supply firearms to the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).
Senior Principal Magistrate, Kenneth Cheruiyot, nullified the CCTV footage that was presented in his court by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI). Cheruiyot argued that the exhibit did not indicate how Echesa committed a crime at the DP's office.
“The footage did not show Echesa and his visitors committing any offence,” the Magistrate ruled.
He added that prior evidence provided in court further proved that Ruto was not aware of Echesa’s visit.
The Magistrate also ruled that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) did not present the two foreigners, Kozlowski Stanley Bruno, and Mamdough Mostafa Lofty in court. The two were the complainants in the case.
“I have considered the evidence tabled in court and find the first four accused persons with no case to answer and are hereby acquitted," ruled the Magistrate.
The two foreigners were reported to have left the country without providing their statements.
However, one of Echesa’s co-accused, Chrispin Oduor Odipo, was charged with being in possession of instruments to commit forgery offences. The documents were purported to have been signed by senior officers at KDF.
“I, however, place the fifth accused on his defence in the charge of being in possession of forged documents,” the Magistrate ruled.
DCI boss George Kinoti, prior to arraigning Echesa, held a nearly two hour televised press conference in March 2020, to explain why the CCTV footage was his major evidence against the former CS.
The DCI boss linked the Ksh39 billion tender scandal to the demise of Ruto’s bodyguard, Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei, who he alleged was assassinated to cover up the case. In the footage, Kenei was seen interacting with the alleged Echesa’s guests (the two foreigners) at Ruto’s office.
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