Vetting of top officers exposes high levels of graft and opulence in force - Daily Nation

Vetting of top officers exposes high levels of graft and opulence in force

Monday January 13 2014

PHOTO | FILE National Police Service Commission Chairperson Johnstone Kavuludi. The vetting of 23 senior police officers ended Sunday and brought to light the infighting, corruption and  nepotism bedevilling the service.

PHOTO | FILE National Police Service Commission Chairperson Johnstone Kavuludi. The vetting of 23 senior police officers ended Sunday and brought to light the infighting, corruption and nepotism bedevilling the service. 

By ZADDOCK ANGIRA

The vetting of 23 senior police officers ended Sunday and brought to light the infighting, corruption and nepotism bedevilling the service.

The vetting, which targeted officers above the rank of Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs), also exposed the hitherto unknown character of most of the senior officers, judging by how they answered questions. 

But what captivated the public was the wealth of some of the police officers, which rans into millions of shillings. Police have often complained about their poor pay and some of them had a hard time trying to explain the disparities between their salaries and what they own.

At least two senior officers exposed the haphazard manner in which deployments were made, and even how senior officers abused their powers and offices. Mr Peter Eregae, who was retired,  told the panel that he was forced to operate from his car.

KNOW PEOPLE

“I would remain in the car reading newspapers till September 2009 when I was appointed the deputy CID boss,” he said.
On Thursday, former North Eastern PPO Philip Tuimur also said that he had not worked since January last year though he was earning a salary.

Eng John Owino had also told the panel that he felt that he would be more effective in the aviation industry. “I am a pilot, aeronautical engineer, a qualified Air Accident Investigator, and an examiner. A person of my calibre would excel better in an aviation outfit,” he told the panel.

At least three senior officers revealed that though they were in charge of their respective departments, they were not in control. The Director of Inspections Stephen Chelimo said that for the last four years, he had been carrying out inspections that were never acted upon.

“We have been coming up with recommendations that are never implemented by our bosses,” said Mr Chelimo.

The Director of Community Policing Beatrice Nduta admitted that Community Policing had failed.

“I have reached most of the senior officers. But my surprise is that they have not followed my instruction.”

One officer who is yet to be vetted paid dearly for not “knowing people.”

When Ms Nduta opened a sealed confidential letter belonging to her boss then, Mr Moses Ombati, their relationship became rocky. Mr Ombati recommended that she be transferred but instead, it was Mr Ombati who was transferred.

It turned out Ms Nduta was well connected than her senior in what is loosely termed as makucha ya kuzunguka (nails to manoeuvre) the Kenya Police.

But it was the officers wealth that made the vetting, which was transmitted live, a must-watch.

Ms Nduta claimed to own only “ eight small rooms,” one of which was occupied by her son. But the panel later learnt that the small rooms she was referring to were eight two-bedroomed houses in Utawala, fetching over Sh120,000 per month.

Even the talkative Nairobi county commander Benson Kibue, commonly known for his accented English resorted to very brief answers.
He only said that he had been deployed to “a lucrative” area.

Some however attributed their wealth to hardworking wives and foresighted directors.

The Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) director Leo Nyongesa told the panel that he had served for several years and could not be poor.

“I used to be paid about Sh400,000 when I was in peace keeping missions. I have served since 1977. I am not a poor man though I am not rich,” he said.

Mr Nyongesa even thanked his wife on during the exercise, just in case she was watching.

“I attribute it to savings and proper planning with the family. In fact I am very grateful to my wife in case she is watching this vetting,” said the director.

Chief Firearm Licensing Officer Francis Wanjohi, who was accused of arrogance, also attributed his wealth to his wife.

“My wife receives the lion share of the rent collected from our houses. She is independent,” said Mr Wanjohi. When the Deputy Directorate of Criminal Investigations Gideon Kimilu was asked whether his investments were affecting his work at the CID headquarters, he defended himself.

FREE LUNCH

“My director can confirm that I am always in the office. Even the owners of Barclays Bank are not always present in every branch,” he answered.

Some occasional humour, especially on the question of wealth, also punctuated the otherwise serious proceedings. Asked whether he had a house in his Makueni land, Mr Kimilu answered: “Of course I do not live under a tree.”

The deputy director of police reforms Kingori Mwangi told the panel that the Bella Vista restaurant did not belong to him and denied he was the proprietor of several rental houses.

“Chair, if I own it (Bella Vista), you can go there and have lunch for free.”