4 January 2014

Kenya: Three Senior Cops Sacked After Vetting

Photo: Amnesty International
Vetting of senior police officers in Kenya enters phase two (file photo).

Three top cops were yesterday retired after they failed to qualify in the vetting of police officers. Senior Deputy Commissioners Francis Okonya, Peter Eregai and Jonathan Koskei were found unfit by the National Police Service Commission.

Okonya previously served as the deputy to retired Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere before the NPSC was constituted. He has also served as the Deputy Director of CID and the head of the Banking Fraud Investigations Unit, and was one of the shortlisted candidates for the position of the Deputy Inspector General of Police.

Eregai served as Deputy Director of CID, Coast police boss and Undersecretary at the Ministry of Public Works. Koskei was Director of Police Reforms at police headquarters and previously provincial police chief in North Eastern and Nairobi.

Eregai said: "God is great. He has given me the strength and energy to serve Kenya for the many years as a police officer. It is now time for me to move on with life." He said he had decided to retire even before the vetting.

Eregai however did not reveal his future plans after serving the police for 37 years. Senior Deputy Commissioner Patrick Ochieng, who is the director of Kenya Focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons, was cleared to serve.

He has in the past served as the commandant of the Kenya Police Airwing. Also cleared was Peter Kavila, currently the Kenya Police College Commandant. Kavila has also served as the Police Director of Operations and Provincial Police Commander in Western province.

He told the Star that he was "delighted" to have been cleared and said the vetting will improve the image of the police in the eyes of the public. "It is another exciting phase in my career life. I will continue serving with dedication," Kavila said.

William Saiya, Commandant of the General Service Unit, has also been cleared together with Omar Shurie of the Administration Police. Shurie is the Commandant of the AP college in Embakasi.

Yesterday, NPSC chairman Johnstone Kavuludi said the commission had focused mainly on the academic qualifications of the officers, integrity and financial status.

Fielding questions from journalists, Kavuludi said NPSC had communicated its findings with "other government agencies" but was yet to recommend further investigations or prosecution of any of the top cops.

He however declined to reveal why the three failed in the vetting. Sources in the commission said NPSC was lenient especially to the AP, which only has one Senior Deputy Commissioner.

In the event that Shurie was retired, deputy IG in charge of AP Samuel Arachi would have been left without a deputy. Shurie said: "I am happy that I have successfully gone through the vetting. I will continue serving Kenya with dedication as I have done in the past."

But a senior officer who requested anonymity said: "The whole exercise is a sham, witch hunt and white wash for others." The top cop said the vetting team had shown open bias during the exercise.

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