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Court orders release of vehicles belonging to former CS

A Kiambu court has ordered the release of three motor vehicles belonging to former Cabinet Secretary for Sports Mr. Rashid Mohammed Echesa.
The court has further ordered that a status report on four other motor vehicles to be produced in court on June 26, 2020, when the investigating officer is expected to furnish the court with the said document after he seized the motor vehicles in March 2020 without an order from the court.
The motor vehicles had been seized by the DCI alongside three others, in which the police have sought a court order to access the home of Mr. Echesa and impound them as they conducted investigations pertaining to the ownership of the cars.
In her ruling Wednesday, Kiambu senior Principal magistrate (SPM) Ms. Stella Atambo ordered the DCI to release motor vehicle Registration Numbers KBY 750 U Toyota Lexus, KBP 725 B Ford Ranger and KCL J Mercedes Benz forthwith to the applicant who had proceeded to court on March 24, 2020.
She however cautioned, “this court is enjoined under article 259 of the constitution to interpret the constitution in a manner that promotes its purposes, values and principles, and advances the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms in the bill of Rights and that contributes to good governance. In exercising its judicial authority, this court is obliged under Article 159(2) (e) of the constitution to protect and promote the purpose and principles of the constitution.” said the magistrate.
She said the search warrants issued by the court then expressly provided for specific motor vehicles that were under investigation and did not imply that you take away all the vehicles in the home of the applicant.
The DPP through the investigating officer, said, should have filed an inventory and or status report on what was realized on the date that the DCI accessed the applicant’s premises to the effect the search warrants. Further to this, if any item, property and or record was seized at that time, the DPP was obligated to come to court to seek further orders to seize what had earlier not been enumerated in the initial application and or should have filed immediately an inventory to confirm what had been seized and further regularized that which had not been stated. This did not happen, she noted.
Senior state counsel for the prosecution Mr. Donnex Ongira in the alternative application agreed to release the subject motor vehicles on condition that the DPP is supplied with the original logbooks and authority from the registered owners of the Motor vehicles to release such.
Ms. Atambo further clarified that the role of investigations was to gather evidence and charge. In the absence of the status report, it is not clear what and how far the investigating officer has conducted his investigations. She added that the court had not been told that there were any complainants and or complaints on the motor vehicles s not included in the initial application. Nothing would have been better than this” said Ms. Atambo.
In the miscellaneous application no.94 of 2020, Mr. Echesa in an application certified as urgent sought the DCI to release motor vehicle KCN 006 B Toyota Land cruiser, KCL 350 L Mercedes Benz, KBY 750 U Toyota Lexus, KBP 725 B Ford Ranger, KCW 298 Q Demio, 507,000 and a firearms licensing certificate No 09226 belonging to him.
In the alternative application he prayed to the court that pending the hearing and determination of the application, the court is pleased to issue an order directing the respondent (DCI) to produce before court motor vehicle registration numbers KCN 006 Toyota Land Cruiser, KCL 350 L Mercedes Benz, KBY 750 U Toyota Lexus, KBP 725 B Ford Ranger, KCW 298 Q Demio, 507,000 and a firearms licensing certificate No 09226 which were seized from the applicant’s premises.
Mr. Echesa is being represented by Evans Ondieki and Brian Khaemba formerly a Senior Resident magistrate at the Kiambu Law Courts.
By Lydia Shiloya

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