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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 10 May 2015

TRAFFIC POLICE NOW USE HAWKERS TO PICK BRIBES


Rampant corruption perpetuated by traffic police officers nationally still remains a major challenge and nightmare to the Jubilee government.
However, as president Uhuru Kenyatta embarks on the war against corruption in different ministries, individuals, he has totally forgotten to crack the whip on the traffic department which is the nerve centre of corruption in the police force.
In Nyamira county, the traffic police officers have gone a notch higher in perfecting corruption by changing tactics of collecting bribes from motorists plying routes in the area.
Initially, the officers were collecting the bribes directly but nowadays they have resorted to using emissaries.
In Nyamira South subcounty, investigation carried by Weekly Citizen established authoritatively that traffic police officers have now recruited middlemen they have been tasked with the responsibility of collecting the bribes from the matatu operators on their behalf.
The middlemen majority who are small time traders are strategically positioned in local points particularly on major junctions where they transact the business of collecting the loot on behalf of the officers.
 The Weekly Citizen also established that the emissaries have so much authority in that they  can order for the arrest of those who fail to give in to the bribes demands by making urgent calls to their purported  “employers”.
A reliable source in the matatu sector confided that those tasked with the collection of bribes were newspaper vendors and groundnut hawkers.
“When they are collecting bribes from the motorists, they pose as if they are selling newspapers or groundnuts to the clients in the matatus or the drivers, a situation  which is tricky for one to discover if one is not keen,” one matatu driver remarked.
The most frequent points where the illegal tax collection is done include Konate, Nyamira town, Motemomwamwa, Ikonge, Motobo and Miruka-Nyamira stages.
It was also reliably established that each vehicle was paying a minimum of Sh400 to the corruption traffic police ring.
In the course of the tax collectors executing their illegal duties, the traffic officers stay away from the collections points thus inquiring by phone on how the illegal business is progressing.
The officers have on several occasions been caught reading newspapers without even checking that the vehicles plying in the area had the necessarily documents or not.
A tout also confided that failure to pay the bribe, the collectors telephone the officers on duty and report any vehicle which has not complied thus leading to  the arrest of the driver and the tout who are arraigned in court.
Some of the matatu owners who sought anonymity told us when they skip a day without paying, their vehicles are detained on  trumped-up charges  before finally being arraigned in court .