A Kiambu court yesterday released former Cabinet Secretary for sports Mr. Rashid Echesa on a cash bail of 1,000,000 shillings or Sh.1,000,000 shillings bond with a similar surety.
Echesa was further directed by Kiambu Chief Magistrate Ms. Patriciah Gichohi to report every Monday at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Headquarters once a month beginning 13th March. He was also gravely advised not to tamper with witnesses and she set the mention for 9th April 2021.
While delivering the ruling which was scheduled for 11.00a.m but ended up being issued 4.00p.m, Ms. Gichohi said that considering that the respondent was arrested on 5th March 2021 at Mumias in Kakamega county, the police had ample time to conclude their investigations.
According to Inspector Meshack Kagera who is the investigating the case, it was complex and would require a multi-agency collaboration to investigate the alleged offenses.
Defense lawyer Cliff Ombeta had earlier stated that the matter at hand was not of Kiambu jurisdiction. The DCI had to move him to Kiambu for security reasons.
The defense lawyer Cliff Ombeta argued that the prosecution intended to paint Mr. Echesa as a bad person who was listed as a habitual offender and therefore deny him his freedom as they completed their investigations
“There is also no evidence that the police are being used by Harambee House, whatever the defense meant. The nature of the assault charges is an issue of investigation. Violence undermines tenets of the society and further causes fear to the voters. The assault was a violation of rights, the same rights the respondent relies on in the constitution and there is no evidence of a conviction.” the magistrate noted in her ruling.
“This is not the right time to refer to him as a habitual offender and it is not a license for him to continue to bear the alleged traits to violence. Violence is the complete opposite of his alleged personality as presented by his defense team” said Ms. Gichohi.
“The respondent has been in custody since 5th March 2021. I do not see how he will interfere with the presiding officer who was allegedly assaulted and who may be a complainant on the nature of the offense being investigated under section 65 of the elections act. The court found that a statement from the investigating officer, the record states that such an attempt at interference will be dealt with even when a respondent is out on bond.
For the prosecution, Ms. Christine Mbevi had expressed her fears that owing to the status of Mr. Echesa in the society, there was a likelihood of interference with the investigation to which Ms. Gichohi noted that the prosecution should not expedite any accusations brought before the court. The court should deal with the suspect person accordingly.
by Lydia Shiloya and Velma Mukhwana