Former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and three others have been freed on a Ksh.1 million cash bail each after denying fraud charges in a military arms deal.

Echesa was arraigned alongside Daniel Otieno Omondi alias General Juma, Clifford Okoth Onyango alias Paul, and Kennedy Oyoo Mboya.

The four were accused of, among other things, attempting to obtain a total of Ksh.39, 544,200,000 from a foreigner by falsely pretending that they would award him a tender by the State Department to supply military equipment.

The suspects pleaded not guilty to all counts – obtaining money by false pretences, conspiracy to commit a felony, uttering a false document – with Echesa terming the case a political witch hunt.

The prosecution had earlier objected to Echesa’s release claiming he would interfere with witnesses and evidence, further adding that the Ksh.1 million previously slapped on him by the JKIA court was lenient.

Echesa, through lawyer Cliff Ombeta, however stated that there was no reason to deny him bail, also urging the court to consider his bail/bond terms since he is presently unemployed.

“Echesa is no longer a Minister and is jobless and may not raise (the money if) given high bond terms, this will be denying their freedom… consider this,” said Ombeta.

The court ruled that: “In this case, the prosecution has not brought any evidence to show that the accused is likely to interfere with witnesses… the prosecution has failed to prove compelling reasons.”