25 January 2013

Kenya: I Also Want to Know Who Waiganjo Is - Iteere

Photo: http://www.irinnews.org
Nine people are reported dead and over 300 undergoing treatment for cholera in Sumbawanga district (file photo).

Nairobi — Former Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere on Friday testified before the team investigating the conduct of alleged police imposter Joshua Waiganjo where he maintained he never recruited, promoted or transferred him.

Iteere says he is the one who directed the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department Ndegwa Muhoro to open an investigation into Waiganjo's activities soon after he received a report on civilian involvement in a probe into the Baragoi police massacre.

"Two weeks after I ordered for investigations into the Baragoi incident, I got a report indicating that two civilians accompanied the Rift Valley Provincial Security and Intelligence Committee. That's the first time I came to learn of the name Waiganjo. To the best of my recollection, I was the person who first raised that issue," said Iteere denying having earlier received other reports.

The now retired police commissioner maintained that he never had any social engagements with Provincial Police Officers and instead kept matters between them professional. He said the same was expected of formation commanders in order to retain integrity.

"My relationship with all PPOs was purely professional. It doesn't auger well... how do you drink with a constable and you are the PPO or the OCPD. Ours is a disciplined organisation if you lose that discipline, everything goes out of control," he emphasised.

In his evidence to the commission, Iteere has also dismissed allegations that he received a four wheel drive vehicle from Waiganjo as alleged, terming allegations against him as "a product of fertile imagination bordering on the bizarre."

Iteere says he had never seen or met Waiganjo, and had even asked suspended Rift Valley Provincial Police chief John M'mbijiwe to explain who the man was and how he had stayed for long without being detected.

"Operation matters at the province is the sole duty of the PPO. He is the operation commander in his area. If someone tells you that he I a police reservist how do you believe that without asking for his letters of appointment?"

Iteere told the commission that during his tenure as police commissioner, he never appointed any police reservist after his predecessor Hussein Ali disbanded urban police reservists in 2004.

M'mbijiwe who was also present at the hearings has already given written submissions through lawyer Pravin Bowry.

"I am not going to expose him to cross examination... this is his document as a witness statement, I have not cross examined any witness. I have been holding a watching brief and the matter is being treated by me as an investigative process," submitted Bowry.

Iteere called for proper investigations by the police into the alleged phone number that Waiganjo claimed to have talked to him on, as well as land and a vehicle that the alleged imposter is said to have bought him.

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