A suspect in the Sh39 billion fake military tender, involving former Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and an American company, impersonated a military official, a Nairobi court heard Friday.
Chrispin Oduor Odipo, the fifth suspect in the scam to be arraigned, falsely presented himself as a Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) major undertaking construction and repair work at the Mariakani Barracks in Mombasa.
Odipo was Friday charged with 17 criminal counts involving fraud, forgery of documents, impersonating a public officer and obtaining money by pretence.
The 39-year-old man, described by the prosecution as a businessman, appeared before a magistrate’s court in Milimani where he denied the charges and was remanded for three days awaiting ruling on his application to be released on bail.
But the prosecution, led by Jacinta Nyamosi, opposed the application on grounds that the accused was a flight risk and an influential person, who is likely to interfere or intimidate State witnesses.
“Some witnesses are his close friends and family members related to a company called Pzel Limited where he is a co-director.
“It is crucial to have the witnesses redacted before they testify. The accused also has other cases and one under investigation,” said Ms Nyamosi.
According to the prosecution, the offences alleged to have been committed by Odipo are serious and he risks spending up to seven years in jail if found guilty.
“The evidence available is of high and justifiable measure to have him denied bail. His security is also not guaranteed as he has obtained (money) from several people,” the prosecution counsel told Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi.
Odipo’s lawyer said the prosecution had already infringed on the rights of his clients as he had been detained for three days by the police without trial instead of the constitutionally provided timeline of two days.
The court heard that Odipo was arrested on Tuesday at his office on Mombasa Road in Nairobi and police refused to produce him in court despite pleas by his lawyer.
“The prosecution has not come to court with clean hands as police are infringing on his rights. The accused was illegally detained since February 19 and, despite our numerous pleas, he was not produced in court.
“The court has an obligation to protect the sanctity of rights of an accused person as enshrined in the constitution,” the lawyer said.
The cases will be mentioned on Monday at 2pm for a ruling on Odipo’s bail application.