At least 30 police officers are under investigation after two of them were found to have received bribes amounting to Sh37 million through M-Pesa.
Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Chief Executive Halakhe Waqo said the officers under investigation were based on Thika highway.
The policemen are believed to be part of a racket extorting bribes from motorists on the highway.
According to the EACC boss, one of the two officers was found to have transacted Sh30 million using his M-Pesa account in a period of seven months.
His suspected accomplice had on the other hand transacted a total of Sh7.8 million using his M-Pesa account during the same period.
He said the money was sent to the officers’ M-Pesa accounts by a boda boda rider suspected to be part of the cartel.
The cartel’s victims would send their bribes to the boda boda rider’s M-Pesa account and he would in turn forward the same to the officers who would quickly withdraw it.
“The cases are now being handled by the Thika court as we continue to follow the others who are part of the cartel,” Mr Waqo said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the governors’ summit at Diani Reef Hotel in Kwale County.
The revelation came after the governors raised concern over continued harassment by officers from the anti-graft agency. The governors complained that the agency was targeting them in the war against corruption.
Mr Waqo said the commission was overwhelmed by the high number of corruption cases given its lean staff.
Stating that the war against corruption was a collective responsibility, Mr Waqo said it was not an easy one as some people withdrew cases, witnesses disappeared while some players scuttled investigations.
He said some county workers conspired with outsiders to loot money and gave an example of the theft of Sh52 million through collusion between bank staff and officials of a county government he did not name.
Responding to Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, Mr Waqo said the commission will not bend the law to allow counties to buy second-hand goods. “We shall investigate if any second-hand material is bought. That is the law,” he said.
Mr Waqo named Hong Kong as one of the places where a huge budget of about Sh12 billion is allocated to the fight against corruption.
He said EACC, which has come under intense criticism over its failure to fight high level corruption in the country, was not targeting a specific class of people and that was why even boda boda riders were not spared.
Mr Waqo said he was also being wrongly accused of targeting officials in northern Kenya counties where he hails from in the pretext that he was eyeing an elective seat.
EACC is investigating some 3,243 cases of corruption across the 47 counties, he said. Nairobi County has the most cases (408), followed by Isiolo with 192 cases, Garissa (173), Kisumu (158) and Kisii (146).
Mr Waqo said the commission received 4,242 complaints on corruption between 2013 and September this year.
“All the counties face corruption complaints which is a worrying situation. In our probe, Nairobi tops the list because it is the largest city,” said Mr Waqo.
He noted that the cases mostly originate from the county assemblies, procurement departments, public service offices, land offices and at the health departments.
“These are the most prone areas and that is why we are now asking you (governors) to cooperate with us in this fight. One of the major challenges that we face as a commission is the lack of cooperation,” he said.
He added that there was a need for the governors to improve their cooperation with the commission to identify the problem and deal with it for better service delivery.
By Lucas Barasa, Mohamed Ahmed and Fadhili Fredrick