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Sh40bn arms racket: Chrispin Odipo freed on Sh1.5m bond

Monday February 24 2020

JOSEPH WANGUI
By JOSEPH WANGUI
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A suspect in the Sh40 billion military equipment scandal involving former Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and an American company was on Monday released on a Sh1.5 million bond.

Chrispin Oduor Odipo, the fifth suspect in the scam, was released after denying 17 criminal charges including fraud, forging documents, impersonating a public officer and obtaining money by pretence. 

The first charge sheet states that the 39-year-old businessman forged an end user certificate, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and a notification of award for a restricted, classified tender number HC2019/2026 from the Ministry of Defence.

Mr Odipo allegedly committed the offence alongside former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, Daniel Otieno, Clifford Okoth and Kennedy Oyoo, between October 2, 2019 and February 13.

The charge sheet also states that he extended the date on the notification of award for the restricted tender.

The suspects are further accused of making an NDA between the Kenya Defence Forces and Echo Advanced Technologies, LLC, and claimed it was a genuine document issued by the KDF.

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The intent of the forgery was to defraud and deceive, the charge sheet says.

MONEY OBTAINED

The suspects are also accused of obtaining Sh11.5 million from Kozlowoski Stanley Bruno on October 21, 2019 at Plaza 2000 along Mombasa Road in Nairobi.

Court documents indicate that they did so by pretending they could award him a contract for supply and delivery of military equipment to the Ministry of Defence.

On October 22, 2019, the parties allegedly forged the notification of award to the managing director, Howells Investments, Sp.Z.O.O Aleja Niepodleglosci 02-626 Warszawa, Poland.

They claimed the letter was from Defence Principal Secretary R.M. Gicia.

OTHER DOCUMENTS

On January 31, the accused allegedly made a similar letter on notification of the tender award addressed to Echo's managing director.

On February 13, while at the Harambee House Annex in Nairobi, the accused allegedly made two separate agreements purported to be between the government of Kenya and Echo, and presented them as genuine documents from the State Department of Defence.

One of the fake agreements, named Ref No. Highly Classified 2019/2026, was for supply, delivery, installation, commissioning and maintenance of an integrated communication and surveillance system.

For Echo, the documents were addressed to Kozlowoski Stanley Bruno and Mamdough Mostafa Amer Lofty.

MORE MONEY

Mr Odipo, in the second case, is accused of obtaining Sh2 million from one Emma Kanini Mutisya by pretending to be in a position to help her win a tender to supply grab screw rollers to the ministry.

He is said to have committed the offence between December 6 and 7, 2017 at Equity Bank's Kenyatta Avenue Branch in Nairobi.

The suspect is also accused of forging the Defence PS' signature and contract book No.423/MOD/201/2017/2018 issued to Ms Mutisya.

The court further heard that on November 3, 2017 at the English Point Marina in Mombasa, Mr Odipo presented himself to Reagan Onyango Oliech as a KDF army major.

Senior Principal Magistrate Bernard Ochoi said the hearing will continue on March 11.