DPP seeks to suspend orders on Echesa firearms release

Thursday, June 18th, 2020 00:00 |
Former Sports Cabinet secretary Rashid Echesa at a past court hearing. PD/FILE

Bernice Mbugua @BerniceMuhindi

The Director of Public Prosecutions now says State intends to initiate further charges against Former Sports Cabinet secretary Rashid Echesa in regard to two firearms that were confiscated when he was arrested in February.

The DPP has filed an application seeking to suspend orders issued by the Magistrate’s court which compelled  the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to release his two pistols and a Range Rover vehicle.

“The State intends to initiate further charges in lieu of the two firearms depending on the report of the chairman of the firearm licensing bureau.

The charges shall be rendered futile if the said firearms are released to the respondent,” claimed Senior Prosecution Counsel of DPP Kennedy Panyako in court documents.

Court order

On June 4, the court ordered the State to give the former CS his cars and firearms that were confiscated when he was arrested.

Magistrate Kennedy Cheruiyot allowed the application by Echesa where he was seeking the return of his cars including a Range Rover and pistols saying they were not related to the charges he was facing.

“I find that and hold that the applicant is entitled to possess the firearm and to also enjoy his motor vehicle,” the court had ruled.

However, DPP claims the firearms and the vehicles were recovered as a result of a search conducted on Echesa’s premises and are directly connected to the Sh40 billion fake arms deal allegedly executed at the office of the DP he was charged with.

“That the respondent used the subject matter motor vehicle during the commission of the offences he is charged with and as such, the same is detained as an exhibit,” said Panyako.

According to DPP, the two firearms were taken to the Chairman Firearm Licensing Bureau for verification and a report has not been received because of the inconveniences caused by the Covid 19 pandemic.

Examine records

“That the State is holding the vehicles pursuant to section 26(©) of the criminal procedure code wherein it is mandated to detain and search items purported to have been unlawfully acquired,” DPP claimed.

DPP wants the court to suspend the lower court orders and call for and examine the record of proceedings in the chief magistrate’s court for purposes of satisfying itself to the correctness, legality and propriety of the said courts finding and ruling made on June 4, 2020.

Echesa has opposed the said application by the State saying DPP has not placed sufficient evidence to warrant the court to alter and reverse the orders it gave two weeks ago.

 “The state has no power to invade my privacy and my right to own property, which is protected by the Constitution. I have flushed uncontroverted evidence showing the said motor vehicle was purchased by me,” he said in an affidavit.

According to the former Sports CS, the said motor vehicle was never seized from home as alleged by the State and that he was arrested at the CBD when he was heading to Hilton for a business meeting.

“I am aware and I’m further informed by my advocates on record which information I verily believe to be correct that Kenya is governed by the rule of law and due process and the state has a duty to obey all Court orders,” he said.

Echesa claims the charges he is facing at the criminal court have no nexus with the motor vehicle in question and it is not mentioned in any of the 15 counts he is charged with.

“The orders issued by the subordinate court were legitimate and legally sound and were premised in the law and the constitution,” he argues.

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