31 January 2013

Kenya: Top Cops Face the Axe Over Imposter Saga

Nairobi — A team investigating the activities of alleged police imposter Joshua Waiganjo has recommended the dismissal of suspended Rift Valley Provincial Police chief John M'mbijiwe and Anti-Stock Theft Unit Commandant Remi Ngugi.

The team, which handed in its report on Thursday morning to the National Police Service Commission (NPSC), gave the two top policemen an option to retire or be dismissed.

While reading out the probe's findings, which also absolved former Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere of complicity, Kavuludi added that M'mbijiwe should have known that Waiganjo was not a genuine police officer.

"The committee says the NPSC should retire John Kaua M'mbijiwe, PPO Rift Valley province and Remi Ngugi, commandant ASTU in the public interest or dismisses them forthwith in accordance with the governing regulations," NPSC chairman Johnston Kavuludi said.

Kavuludi further revealed that the committee found out that M'mbijiwe attempted to permit Waiganjo's impersonation by pushing for his appointment letter.

"He attempted to legitimise Waiganjo's impersonation by giving David Wambua, the OCPD of West Pokot, instructions to open a personal file and issue Waiganjo with an appointment letter as a police reservist," he said.

"Wambua informed the committee that he did sign the letter under duress."

The report lifted Njoro police chief Nthigah Njeru's interdiction but recommended that he gets retrained on command and leadership, in addition to being transferred from the Rift Valley region.

The probe team was however unable to determine if Waiganjo leaked sensitive security information relating to the Baragoi massacre where 42 police officers were killed.

"The committee listened to evidence but we were unable to get conclusive evidence on whether he revealed this information at a security meeting," said committee member Kioko Kilukumi.

Kavuludi also assured the public of a full implementation of the report's findings saying the Waiganjo saga had dented the police image.

He further took account of the aspersions cast by the Prime Minister on the police force at a rally, on Wednesday, maintaining that urgent reforms would be undertaken.

"We will take bold steps to ensure full implementation of the report which we intend to share with other relevant offices. The commission will seek the advice of the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions," he said.

Moreover, the probe committee urged the NPSC to develop a comprehensive policy on recruitment, training, appointment, deployment, remuneration and personnel record management for the Kenya Police Reserve.

An immediate audit of all Kenya Police Reservists will also be conducted and a data base created.

In addition, the probe, which took 21 days to investigate the scandal, wants all gazetted officers vetted and the command structure re-examined to ensure that power is not concentrated in one central office.

The use of firearms movement registers will also be introduced to facilitate proper management of arms issued to police officers.

The report has already been sent to the Government Printer and will be available to the public.

"The police audit is already ongoing. One facet is almost through so the second facet will start immediately after the elections. We have compartmentalised it so that it does not interfere with officers who are involved in preparation of the elections," Kavuludi said.

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