In Summary
  • At the Milimani Law Courts on Monday, Mr Echesa was charged alongside three people -- Daniel Otieno, Clifford Okoth and Kennedy Oyoo
  • They all denied charges of conspiring to commit a felony, making a document without authority, obtaining money by false pretence, attempting to commit a felony and uttering a false document.
  • Mr Echesa's lawyers asked the court to bar Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, Siaya Senator James Orengo, Cotu boss Francis Atwoli and other politicians from discussing the matter.
  • But the court declined to gag anyone, citing freedom of speech.

Former Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa has been released on a Sh1 million cash bail amid investigations into the Sh40 billion arms fraud case involving American organisations, Echo Advanced Technologies.

At the Milimani Law Courts on Monday, Mr Echesa was charged alongside three people -- Daniel Otieno, Clifford Okoth and Kennedy Oyoo.

They all denied charges of conspiring to commit a felony, making a document without authority, obtaining money by pretence, attempting to commit a felony and uttering a false document.

Mr Otieno, Mr Okoth and Mr Oyoo were also released on the same terms.

GAG

Mr Echesa's lawyers asked the court to order release of two vehicles and firearms seized during a search at his home since they were not mentioned in the charge sheet.

They also sought an order barring discussions in various platforms of matters relating to the case.

The lawyers further asked the court to bar Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, Siaya Senator James Orengo, Francis Atwoli, who is Secretary-General of the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu), and other politicians from discussing the matter.

In response, the prosecution argued that the vehicles and firearms were exhibits, so it would be premature to release them.

The prosecution also said evidence on politicians discussing the case needed to be presented in court for them to be barred.

The court declined to gag anyone, noting freedom of speech.

SO FAR

Mr Echesa was arrested last Thursday by Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) detectives over a Sh40 billion fake military equipment tender.

He was arraigned on Friday morning at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) court, with police asking the magistrate to be allowed to detain him for 21 days in order to complete investigations.

Senior Principal Magistrate Lucas Onyina allowed police to search Mr Echesa's, Mr Otieno's, Mr Okoth's and Mr Oyoo's houses.

Meanwhile, Deputy President William Ruto has distanced himself from the scandal linked to his office even as investigations are set to cross borders into Rome.

CCTV footage taken from the DP’s office on Friday positively identified two of his aides as having been present on February 13, when Mr Echesa met officials from Echo Advanced Technologies, an American Company, over the deal.

Dr Ruto seemed to agree that the meeting took place but he said more people could have been involved in the scam.

He has accused his political rivals of launching a smear campaign.