Police officers on the spot over unexplained millions

Police officers on the spot over unexplained millions

Police officers in Kakamega County were on Thursday brought to task over unexplained money transactions amounting to millions of shillings.

Speaking during the police vetting exercise currently underway in the county, the officers of different ranks were each called upon to explain the source of their money and why it was changing hands.

Corporal Hezekiah Nyamweya, who was appearing before the Kavuludi-led team for the second time, appealed to the team to conduct the grilling in confidence away from the press citing family and health reasons, a request that was denied.

He told the commission that part of the Sh80,000 he received from his colleagues was contribution to a merry-go-round chama at Sh10,000 per person for eight people, but failed to explain why the money received was more than it was supposed to be by Sh12,000.

The corporal, who had appeared on Tuesday but requested time off to look for records, was unable to explain Sh3.2 million transactions made between 2012 and 2013, but on bringing records from 2014 and 2015, it emerged that the total amount was Sh5.7 million.

Constable Julius Kimani on the other hand was put to task to explain the source of Sh15,000 that he contributed every week to a merry-go-round, to which he replied that his farming venture was doing well enough to finance the contribution.

He requested for more time to find fresher details to present to the panel.

Also on the hot seat was Constable Pius Kere of Teso Base in Busia County who was unable to explain transactions amounting to Sh3.8 million.

Mr Kere was further probed on why he would collect money from junior officers and send to his seniors, to which he replied that they contributed to a merry-go-round and welfare.

Upon further investigation, the Kavuludi team found that the money collected was being sent to former Regional Traffic Officer for Western Evans Getembe who was removed from the traffic department a year back over corruption charges.

Meanwhile, a security expert speaking to Citizen Digital opined that recruitment, career progression, training and patriotism are among issues plaguing the police service.

The service has in the recent past been marred with a raft of issues including police officers being affiliated with terror group Alshabaab, others even committing suicide due to job and other frustrations, with Independent Policing Oversight Authority now recommending murder charges against five police officers.

Enock Makanga said the aforementioned issues need to be thoroughly looked at for a better police service.

“When you get the wrong people in a security department, then you are done. The same people will also bribe their way into senior positions. There are also officers who joined the force 20 years ago but are still constables, career growth is needed,” said Makanga.

The security expert further intimates that leaving these things unsettled may even turn the officers rogue, or push them into the hands of the country’s enemies.

“Wrong people are getting into the police. If we are able to follow a proper sequence of people explaining why they want to join the service then they will not be compromised by Al shabaab.”

This as the National Police Service Commission chaired by Johnstone Kavuludi continues to vet police officers to weed out rogue and unfit agents, with Mr Makanga faulting the media for further galvanizing the police through its open coverage.

He said, “The best way to achieve vetting is it to be done in camera. Stop bringing out issues that put this country in a position where people laugh at us. At the end of the day the stress the officer is under after being exposed may make him a very serious criminal.”

On Wednesday, police watchdog Independent Policing Oversight Authority – IPOA recommended the charging of five police officers based in Nairobi, Naivasha and Kisumu over three separate killing incidents.

Additional reporting by Samuel Ramtu