Three senior officers were sent home on Tuesday as investigations into the ‘‘fake” policeman saga started.
The National Police Service Commission also ordered a headcount of all officers countrywide.
Those suspended were Rift Valley PPO John M’Mbijiwe, Gilgil-based Anti-Stock Theft Unit commandant Remi Ngungi and Njoro OCPD Peter Njeru Nthiga.
The decision to send them home came as more details emerged about police impostor Joshua Karianjahi Waiganjo and his role in the ill-fated Baragoi operation in which over 40 police officers were killed.
NPSC chairman Johnston Kavuludi said that a team they had set up will unearth the truth of the matter. (Read: Police chiefs queried over fake officer saga)
“The committee has a wide mandate and would seek to establish whether Mr Waiganjo was a police officer or a police reservist and who recruited him, who gave orders and instructions, and what facilities, including transport, equipment and firearms, he was issued with,” he said.
The committee was mandated to dig deeper and establish if Mr Waiganjo’s case was an isolated one or there were other persons masquerading as police officers.
However, Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo said early indications are that it was an “isolated case”.
Members of the investigation team are former CID training school commandant Mary Awuor, former Administration Police commandant Major (Rtd) Shadrack Muiu and Mr Kimaiyo.
All are commissioners with the police governing body, but the committee would also include representatives from the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, the Public Service Commission, the Law Society of Kenya and the Attorney-General’s office.
Mr M’Mbijiwe and the other two were sent home on the basis of adverse evidence adduced against them in a preliminary investigation Mr Kimaiyo ordered.
The PPO was replaced by Mr Levin Mwandi, while Mr Ngungi’s deputy, Solomon Makau, took over in an acting capacity.
Mr Esau Ochorokodi took over at the Njoro district police headquarters.
However, Mr Kimaiyo said that the interdicted officers remained innocent until it was proven that they were involved in any criminal activity or acts of indiscipline.
The interdicted officers are said to have worked closely with Mr Waiganjo.
“The incident has exposed a serious lapse that has outraged the nation. It has exposed serious systemic weaknesses in the police and the commission is undertaking a detailed audit of all the police officers, an action that would weed out ghost officers,” Mr Kavuludi said.
The audit, which started on Tuesday, is expected to take 30 days, he said.
The committee, which has been given 21 days to complete its investigations, was also tasked with unearthing if Mr Waiganjo could have been involved in crime.
He has been charged with robbery with violence, impersonation of a senior police officer and being in possession of police uniform.
Mr Waiganjo appeared before a Naivasha court for the substitution of his charges, yesterday, but the new charges were not read and the magistrate ordered that they be read on Wednesday.
“The commission has rapidly put in place mechanisms to ensure that we get to the bottom of the matter such that proper investigations are conducted to reveal exactly how this lapse occurred and who within the police service is guilty of any act of omission or commission so that appropriate action is taken,” Mr Kavuludi said.
Mr Waiganjo’s family also drew former police commissioner Mathew Iteere into the saga.
But contacted by the Nation, Mr Iteere termed it “preposterous”, adding that he had never appointed anyone into the Police Reserve during his tenure.
On the audit, Mr Kavuludi said it would confirm the number of officers in the service, their qualifications, their placements, ranks as well as regional, ethnic and gender composition.
It will also provide the requisite critical database for reforms in the force.
Conversant with terrain
Another investigation report claimed newly-posted Administration Police officers were used in the Baragoi operation though there were about 800 GSU and Anti-Stock Theft Unit officers based in the region who were conversant with the terrain.
The report claimed Mr Willy Lugusa, the officer in charge of police operations in the region, and Samburu North OCPD Chrispinus Makhanu opposed the mission dubbed “Operation Rudisha Ngombe” because of inadequate number of personnel and equipment.
However, it alleges Mr M’Mbijiwe insisted the operation must go on and sent Mr Waiganjo to coordinate it.
Mr Lugusa also wanted the operations in Samburu and Turkana locations be done simultaneously as the Turkanas had also lost about 200 camels.
The report alleges Mr Waiganjo sourced the APs from Samburu Central, Laikipia West, Nyahururu, West Pokot, Eldoret East and Nakuru.
Some 56 KPRs from Samburu community also participated in the operation.
Mr Waiganjo’s role in the operation is said to have divided the entire Provincial Security and Intelligence Committee, the report says.
The report says there is no evidence indicating that the PC and the regional NSIS coordinator were involved in planning the Baragoi operation.
On Tuesday, Mr Kimaiyo said: “Nobody will be victimised, but the truth must be told. I appreciate the good work the officers have been doing addressing problems of crime, Al-Shabaab, cattle rustling and violent robberies.”