Former Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere has said suspended Rift Valley police boss John M’Mbijiwe was to blame for the existence of an imposter in their ranks for close to 10 years.
Mr Iteere, whose name has been adversely mentioned in the unfolding saga as having sanctioned the operations of Mr Joshua Waiganjo, swore by the Bible that he never knew the man.
He termed as “preposterous and false” a statement by Mr M’Mbijiwe implicating him in the matter.
He was giving evidence before the committee set up to investigate Mr Waiganjo’s conduct at the KICC in Nairobi on Friday. He said the Waiganjo saga was purely an administrative lapse.
Mr Iteere said the first time he heard about Mr Waiganjo was when he was mentioned in a report as having accompanied Mr M’Mbijiwe to a high level security meeting to Baragoi before the botched operation that saw more than 40 police officers killed in an ambush.
Asked how it was possible for someone to pass off as a senior police officer for close to 10 years without detection, he shifted the blame to the former Provincial Police Officer.
“The people he was in constant contact with should have been the ones to raise suspicion, the best person to answer that question is the PPO,” he said and denied the Mr M’Mbijiwe ever told him about Mr Waiganjo. “I am the one who raised the issue after investigations in the Baragoi incident.”
“Let me give you a chronology of events originating from the operation in Baragoi where we lost many police officers on November 10 2012...I arrived from Italy from an Interpol meeting and I was not aware there was to be an operation that day, at about 1300hrs I left office and as I was driving on Thika Road I received a call that there had been an attack in Baragoi.
“I went there on Monday when we retreived the bodies of the fallen officers and brought them to Nairobi, I then appointed Jonathan Koskei to investigate why the operation went wrong,” Mr Iteere said.
He said a report was brought to his table two weeks later indicating that two men had accompanied the PPO to Baragoi before the incident and “that was the first time I learnt of Waiganjo.”
“I called Mr M’Mbijiwe and asked him about Waiganjo and he told me he was in charge of the Kenya Police Reservists in the province,” Mr Iteere said.
He told the committee that PPO’s remarks “mesmerised” him since to the best of his knowledge the reservist units had been disbanded since 2004 by the then police commissioner Maj (Rtd). General Mohammed Ali.
“On my part I have never appointed anyone, seconded or promoted anyone as a reservist while I served as police commissioner,” he said.
He noted that if Mr Waiganjo was working with police officers in service, then they were best placed to alert him of his “peculiar presence.”
“It is because of that omission why we are here today,” he said.
He also denied he had had social and business dealings with Mr Waiganjo and Mr M’mbijiwe.
“At a personal level the Waiganjo issue has embarrassed me, caused me undue anguish and I have agonised about it like the rest of Kenyans. I invite further investigations to get to the bottom of this matter,” the former commissioner said.