NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rachid Echesa is likely to spend the weekend in police custody pending the conclusion of a police search on his properties, a Nairobi court giving authorities until 6pm on Monday to do so.
A Magistrate Court sitting at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Friday said Echesa, who was arrested on Thursday for allegedly forging documents in a fraudulent arms deal, will thereafter be released on a Sh1 million police bond.
The court is expected to be briefed on compliance on Tuesday.
During the appearance in court, Echesa denied authoring forged documents in the said arms deal valued at Sh39 billion.
Reports indicated he’s received Sh11 million as an initial payment from a group of foreign investors.
Echesa’s lawyers dismissed the prosecution’s claims that the said documents were recovered from his vehicle when detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) arrested him.
Further, the lawyer said the offence for which the former cabinet member was being questioned is minor and as such did not warrant his detention as authorities investigate the matter.
“From the affidavit of the Investigating Officer, it is clear the offence the applicants are investigating. A minor offence of making a document cannot call for the detention of the first respondent (Echesa),” the court heard.
“It won’t help the investigation that he must be in custody for the investigation of such a minor offence to be concluded,” Echesa’s counsel added.
The prosecution had told the court it needed more time to ascertain the authenticity of crucial documents said to have originated from the Ministry of Defence.
“Ascertaining of the so-called sensitive documents does not require the presence of the first respondent in police custody,” Echesa’s lawyer argued.
The former cabinet minister dismissed in March 2019 when President Uhuru Kenyatta reorganized his Cabinet was taken to DCI Headquarters along Kiambu Road in Nairobi where he was questioned for several hours.
Since his removal from cabinet, Echesa has remained vocal in Western Kenya politics taking a tough stance against the proposed privatization of state-owned sugar mills in the region.