26 January 2013

Kenya: Waiganjo Is Not My Man, Says Iteere

Former Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere yesterday denied hiring, promoting, deploying or even know police imposter Joshua Waiganjo who is the subject of an ongoing probe.

Iteere denied claims made by interdicted Rift Valley police chief John M'Mbijiwe that he had links with Waiganjo and told his former surbodinate officer to "carry his own cross." He dismissed as "preposterous' allegations that he had employed, deployed, promoted or had any dealings with Waiganjo.

He said he was "mesmerised" when he called M'mbijiwe to find out the identity of a civilian who had accompanied him to the site of the Baragoi massacre in which 42 policemen were killed.

Iteere said he was told that Waiganjo was the head of the Kenya Police Reservists in the Rift Valley. " I was mesmerised as I have never appointed anyone as a KPR. I have never met him neither I have spoken to him on telephone. I have never appointed, transferred or seen the said Waiganjo."

He said that in the three years he has been police commissioner, he had never appointed anyone as a police reservist as the service had been abolished by his predecessor Maj Gen Hussein Ali in 2004.

"Even after I assumed the position of police commissioner in 2009 I never recruited anyone as a KPR and what was left was basically home guards in the rural areas of upper Rift Valley and Tana where it is prone to cattle rustling," he said.

Iteere also denied allegations by M'Mbijiwe that he had been informed about an ongoing investigation into claims that Waigainjo was impersonating a senior assistant commissioner of police in the Rift Valley.

Iteere said that M'Mbijiwe did not inform him of the presence of Waiganjo or the alleged investigation either in writing or verbally. Soon after Waiganjo was unmasked, M'Mbijiwe had addressed a press conference in which he claimed that he had informed Iteere of the investigation and that police commissioner had requested for Waiganjo'spersonal mobile phone number after promising to instruct the CID to take up the matter.

Iteere denied a suggestion by Kioko Kilukumi that he had failed to take action against Waiganjo even though he had been informed that he was imposter.

Kilukumi's assertion was based on minutes of the Naivasha district security committee held which stated that Waiganjo was an imposter and had recommended that he be investigated. The minutes were among the evidence collected so far by the Mary Owuor.

He dismissed as 'hearsay" claims by police officers that Waiganjo was acting with his blessings. He asked the inquiry to establish whom Waiganjo was calling at the time he claimed he was talking to him.

"I request that you find out which number he was calling and which he claimed to have saved as CompoIteere. I am Iteere and this Iteere has never spoken to Waiganjo," he said.

Iteere denied that Mmbijiwe ever bought for him a car saying police regulations do not allow a police commissioner to do business or socialise with his subordinates as this would led to indiscipline.

Admitting that the unmasking of Waiganjo had been a 'great embarrassment " for the police force, Iteere said he should be commended as he is the one who set up the initial probe team chaired by assistant commissioner of police in charge of reforms, Jonathan Koskei which led to Waiganjo's exposure.

He said after Koskei's investigation, he shared the information with the director of Criminal Investigations Department, Ndegwa Muhoro, but before he acted, his term as police commissioner came to an end on December 24, last year.

Earlier the chief inspector of reserve Shadrack Gitau said crime increased markedly whenever Waiganjo was in Trans-Nzoia County. Gitau who is based in the county said they had severally resisted attempts by Waiganjo to carry out "operations' in the area.

He said despite ignoring his requests, Waiganjo had on many occasions stationed himself in roadblocks mounted by uniformed officers.

He said police reservists could not be transferred from their original area of operation to another and neither were they were supplied with police uniform.

A Nakuru businessman David Mwangi narrated how in May last year he was robbed of his car by four uniformed policemen who are still serving in Nakuru.

He said Waiganjo led the gang of policemen. One of the policeman who has since been transferred to Narok is still driving the stolen car.

"I was arrested and the car which was worth Sh200,000 was impounded. The policemen claimed I had stolen it. When I was taken before Waiganjo, he told me to disappear and never to talk about the issue or else I would be killed," he said.

Mwangi said he wrote a letter to the then Nakuru's OCPD and M'Mbijiwe complaining about the theft but he never got a response. Yesterday was the last day the inquiry was sitting. The members are now expected to prepare a report.

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