February 25th 2018

Society / Governance

Is Kisumu the most lucrative post for police officers?

Before a vetting panel, police officers explain their source of wealth including cash transfers via their mobile phone.

By Sandra Onindosonindo@kenyafreepress.comSaturday, 18 Jun 2016 15:16 EAT

A police car.

Kisumu is well known as a hostile place for police officers. There's no other town in Kenya where political demos can be organized so quickly, or where the police open fire more casually in  quelling them. But the recent vetting of police officers at the Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu has revealed another relationship between the lakeside town and the police: It is the place where police officers can move from rags to riches in the blink of an eye.

A number of officers vetted last week couldn’t explain the source of their fabulous riches. One had Sh5 million in the bank. Constable Susan Wangari Kamau, who is based at the Kisumu traffic department, was asked by the police vetting panel to give details on her source of money, her monthly salary being only KSh20,000.

Susan Wangari said that she runs three bank accounts, one at Equity Bank where she draws her salary from and two at the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) one of which her husband is a guarantor. She also said that she runs a clothes business, practices farming and also owns rental houses from which she earns Sh20,000 a month.

Mrs Kamau also added that she had been lent Sh350,000 to purchase land in Naivasha and Nakuru. “I never knew we were to declare the total amount of money transacted through the mobile phone. I do not have a book of records for my clothes business,” she said, on being asked to explain the source of Sh140,000 that she had received through her mobile phone.

When asked by National Police Service Commission Chairman Johnstone Kavulundi to explain how she manages to pay Sh10,000 a week to her investment group, Mrs Kamau said she could do so thanks to her other businesses. On further interrogation on how she managed to concentrate on her duties as a police officer given that she has other businesses, she said she had employed personnel to run them.

A similar case during the vetting process was that of a police constable, whose mobile platform revealed he had made 204 cash transactions amounting to Sh604,254, all sent to a senior officer. Constable Donald Ojijo said that the reason for the massive transfers was that he and his senior, Evans Oputo, were business partners.

Further records indicated that he had acquired a loan of Sh750,941 from the Kenya police Sacco in 2014 for personal upkeep but instead used it to purchase a vehicle. When asked about the car’s whereabouts, he claimed that it had been stolen. “The vehicle was stolen when I parked it along Kisumu-Nairobi road. The vehicle had been parked near a petrol station but the following day it was nowhere to be found.” He, however, failed to produce a police abstract where he reported the incident.

Another police officer claimed he made his money by escorting a wealthy businessman’s Hindu gods. Traffic police officer Alfred Ndalana told the panel that Hemal Kotesha paid him handsomely for the service. The panel further sought to know why he frequently received money from the businessman who also owns transport lorries that operate in Kisumu. “Mr Kotesha is a kindhearted man. He can just give you money when he meets you,” replied the constable. He defended the businessman by adding that he conducted business legally.

A traffic police officer, Constable John Njagi Kabuga, was also asked by the panel to explain how he managed to make Sh100,000. The constable, who is also a musician, said he was able to generate the money through the sale of his secular music. During the vetting process at the Tom Mboya Labor College, Kisumu, Constable Njagi appeared before Commissioner Mary Owuor explaining that he had done many songs that bring him up to Sh100,000 every year.

When asked to explain how he made money in an industry brimming with copyright problems, Mr Kabuga said, “It is true there is an outcry but apart from royalties, I also perform live shows where I am paid sometimes Sh50,000 or Sh30,000.”

If these claims by the policemen are true, the Police Training College at Kiganjo could be the best sme training ground in Kenya.

Sandra is a staff writer at the Kenya Free Press specializing in news, health and lifestyle coverage.

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