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Echesa arrested over attempt to defraud foreigners Sh11.5m

By Zadock Angira
Friday, February 14th, 2020
Former Sports Cabinet secretary Rashid Echesa. Photo/PD/FILE
In summary

Former Sports Cabinet secretary Rashid Echesa was yesterday arrested for allegedly attempting to defraud foreign nationals of Sh11.5 million.

Echesa is said to have promised to help them secure a Sh39 billion tender to supply military surveillance equipment.

And to instil confidence in the investors, the former CS is said to have used Deputy President William Ruto’s office and even held a meeting with them in one of the boardrooms, according to detectives.

The intelligence-led operation was conducted by detectives from the Special Service Unit (SSU) of Directorate of Criminal Investigations who arrested the former minister as he left the DP boardroom on Harambee Avenue, Nairobi.

“He was on his way to deliver the fake tender document to the foreigners. We recovered the fake documents from his car,”  DCI boss George Kinoti told People Daily yesterday.

“He has even been hosting them in a government boardroom claiming the office would help in securing the said tender to supply firearms and ammunitions,” he added. 

Efforts to get comment from the DP’s office on whether it was aware Echesa may have been using the office for illegal dealings failed.

Director of communications David Mugonyi neither answered our calls nor responded to SMSs sent to him.

Supply equipment

Detectives also said Echesa had earlier travelled to Poland to meet some of the investors whom he convinced that he could help them secure the tender to supply military surveillance equipment, armoured vehicles and other assorted Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) equipment. The company that was to be awarded the tender is based in Turkey.

After arrest, Echesa denied any knowledge of the tender deal, but upon searching his car, detectives found the documents, a laptop, government letter heads and a police radio, which he claimed belonged to his former bodyguard. 

The SSU detectives handed him over to the Serious Crime Unit (SCU) at the DCI headquarters where he was grilled for more than six hours.

The former minister’s vehicle has also been detained and is likely to be used as an exhibit.

According to police, one of the foreigners was set to fly out of the country today with the ‘original tender documents’ but had to cancel his trip following the dramatic turn of events. 

“He (Echesa) had received $115,000 (Sh11.5 million) as consultancy and facilitation fee and he was to be paid additional money on delivering the tender document,” said a senior detective. 

In 2018, con men also used fake LPOs, which they claimed were from DP Ruto’s office, to fleece unsuspecting members of the public who supplied laptops worth millions of shillings. 

The con men claimed it was the DP’s office that procuring the goods, but the fraud was unearthed when one of the suppliers went to DP’s office to seek payment.

This is the second time the embattled former minister is being arrested in the last nine months.

In May last year, Echesa was arrested over killings in Matungu area, Kakamega, but he was freed without being charged after detectives failed to link him to the attacks.

Aggrieved, he sued the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Inspector General of Police and the DCI, for compensation.

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