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Citizen Weekly

Monday, 13 April 2015

POLICE CHIEFS GIVE MILLIONAIRES A RUN FOR THEIR MONEY



Kenya’s police officers are some of the wealthiest public servants, banking hundreds of thousands of shillings monthly from their “businesses”.
In their testimonies before the team vetting them, senior police officers have explained how they have been making millions of shillings from rearing chicken, rental income and fish farming among other money-making ventures.
Their testimonies, if true, put Kiganjo Police Training College at par with the region’s top business schools in producing entrepreneurs of note.
However, in an indictment of the vetting process, none of the senior officers has explained how they cracked a major crime and secured convictions or the innovative things they did to reduce or eliminate crime in their regions.
The following are excerpts from the testimonies given by top police officers during the vetting by the Johnston Kavuludi-led National Police Service Commission (NPSC).
1. Nandi Central OCPD Joakim Mecha
His account was probably the most shocking to the National Police Service Commission panel on Monday, February 9, 2015.
His payslip indicated that he earned Sh26,000 as salary in 2011 yet the commission led by Mr Kavuludi stated that he transacted up to Sh440,000 in a day through his M-Pesa account.
“In my family, I was the one who was relied on to pay school fees for my siblings. I do get money from my wife and from consultation duties,” he told the vetting team.
According to the panel, Mr Mecha deposited more than Sh122,000 in his bank account in less than a week.
On April 19, 2014, he deposited Sh159,000. On the same day, a deposit of Sh500,000 was made into the account.
The commission alleged that he deposited a further Sh50,000 on January 12, 2012, and on the same day, Sh150,000 was deposited into the same account.
He also said that he got money from his engineering consultancy and that another Sh500,000 was from a loan he had applied for.
Mr Mecha, an engineering graduate, said he also performed the M-Pesa transactions when he was buying file cabinets, desks and seats for a new office in his division.
2. Former AP Senior Staff College Commandant Eusebius Laibuta
He told the Johnston Kavuludi-led panel that retiring him from the service before he completes his few remaining years could kill him.
“I personally appeal to you not to spell doom on us by taking away our jobs, because if you do so, you may find some of us on the obituary pages of newspapers,” Mr Laibuta told the panel.
He was at pains to explain the source of his income other than his salary. He could not explain clearly the source of a Sh3 million annual income listed as coming from miscellaneous and rental payments.
He failed to explain huge deposits made to his account on November 30, 2012.
“Kindly consider the length of our service to this nation before you spell doom on our careers. We may have erred here and there, but please forgive us,” he pleaded.
3. Former Director of Police Reforms Jonathan Koskei
The officer was not consistent in explaining why he had been receiving millions of shillings from his junior police officers, among them World Champion David Rudisha.
The panel alleged that Mr Koskei had received Sh900,000 twice from the athlete, saying it was meant for purchasing some farm inputs.
“Mr Rudisha deposited the money into my account for the purpose of purchasing some machinery” he said.
The panel also wanted to know why the athlete again deposited a cheque of a similar amount and Mr Koskei said the money was meant for the purchase of dairy cows.
“The farm and the dairy project are two different projects with different entities,” he said and could not explain why his juniors deposited some money to his account from time to time.
The panel vetting him learnt that Mr Koskei was not aware of basic police reforms.
The director was also accused of having sacked 15 officers, including two assistant commissioners of police, during his tenure as a provincial police boss.
4. Former Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino Wahongo
Mr Owino amused the panel when he said that he was the only solution to the problems affecting the police service and asked the panel not to be surprised about the millions of shillings in his account.
He even told the panel to expect more millions in case there would be another vetting of him this year, as he was planning to make more from his fish farm where he is about to harvest 20,000 tilapias which will sell at Sh250 each.
“Unilever and National Housing Corporation have been sending me between Sh9 million and Sh10 million from time to time,” he said.
“I am the solution to the problems police officers are facing and I am sure God will make someone see that. I am the change the Kenya Police Service needs, not unless I die,” he told the panel in Nakuru on March 5.
Mr Owino said he had learnt how to make extra money from his agricultural practices as he could not survive on salary alone. He said he had earned his money genuinely and would encourage other officers to do the same.
He agreed corruption was rampant in the police service but quickly added that this mirrored the situation in the society.
“I am a patriotic Kenyan and I have several investments,” Nyandarua North OCPD Benjamin Onsongo told the Johnston Kavuludi-led vetting panel that he had made Sh21 million gross income from his businesses.
Mr Kavuludi had asked him to explain how Sh875,000 made it to his account every month yet he earned about Sh70,000 as an OCPD.
Another panellist, Mr Ronald Musengi, asked him why he preferred to remain in the police service yet he could live comfortably from his “businesses” without his salary as a senior police officer.
“I am a patriotic Kenyan and I love my job,” Mr Onsongo told the panel. “After all, I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the police service that pays me the salary I have invested in businesses.”
The police boss said he wished to work for the police service and use his knowledge to make Kenya a better place.
He disclosed that since he was recruited more than three decades ago, he had built rental houses in Kisii, Rongai, Nairobi, Eldoret and Nakuru.
His wife, who is an electrical engineer, quit her job to manage their family’s businesses, he told the panel. He also said he owned half of the shares of a private security firm, Benori Guards Services, and that he had a bakery in Kisii Town.