The trial of former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa failed to begin in Nairobi on Wednesday, March 11 at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi as expected.
The case failed to take off after it emerged that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) had failed to supply the defence team with witness statements.
Echesa’s lawyer Evans Ondieki maintained that the trial could not begin without the ODPP supplying the statements and other key pieces of evidence tied to the case.
Senior Principal Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot directed the DPP Noordin Haji’s office to supply the documents within seven days, with the pre-trial further pushed forward to Monday, March 23. Efforts by kenyagist.com to reach Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji to shed more light on the matter were futile as he was unavailable.
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji addresses the media on Thursday, March 5, 2020.
A highly-placed source at the DPP’s office, however, told kenyagist.com that it was investigators at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) who allegedly failed to supply the witness statements to the prosecution on time.
The hearing of an application by Echesa to have his two pistols and Range Rover vehicle reinstated also failed to take place as the DPP had failed to file a response.
State Counsel Kennedy Panyako argued that he was not aware of the matter as the defence had not served him with the application.
It emerged that the application was filed when a different prosecutor was assigned to the case.
The magistrate directed the ODPP to file a response to the application within seven days.
Another of Echesa’s lawyers, Brian Khaemba, had called for the guns to be returned to Echesa, claiming he faced potential security risks by virtue of his position as a former Cabinet Secretary.
He further maintained that they were not tied to the fake arms scandal currently being investigated.
“From the particulars of the said charges, there is no indication that the motor vehicle or firearms in question were used to commit or furtherance of any of the alleged charges so as to suggest that they are exhibits in any of them,” he noted.
Echesa was arrested on Thursday, February 13 in Nairobi in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud arms dealers he allegedly promised to help secure lucrative military tenders worth Ksh39 billion.
He was charged with more than ten counts, including obtaining money by false pretence, conspiracy to commit a felony, making a document without authority, attempting to commit a felony and uttering a false document.
Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa at the Milimani Law Courts on Monday, February 17, 2020