Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: Three Top Cops Axed, Four Make Vetting Cut

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

Nairobi — The National Police Service Commission has retired three Senior Deputy Commissioners in the first batch of the vetting process of seven senior police officers who were vetted on December 17 and 18, 2013.

Peter Elaini Eregai, Francis Omondi Okonya and Jonathan Kipkirui Koskei were found incompetent and unsuitable to continue serving as police officers.

Releasing the results of the vetting in Nairobi, the National Police Service Commission Chairman Johnston Kavuludi announced that John Ochieng Owino, William Atswenje Saiya, Peter Kilonzo Kavila and Omar Shurie Abdi were found to be competent and suitable to continue serving as police officers.

"The main objective of vetting is to reclaim public confidence in the Police Service to enable the officers who have been cleared during the vetting process with pride, confidence and renewed vigour," Kavuludi said.

Kavuludi says in undertaking the vetting, the commission would consider the officers entry qualifications, their professional conduct and discipline, integrity and financial probity and respect for human rights.

"After the vetting interviews the commission retreated to analyse the information gathered during the interviews and from investigators," he said.

He says that the commission has already informed those vetted of the results of the interview before making them public with a review mechanism provided for through The Vetting Review Panel where officers may seek a review of the decisions.

During the vetting process, Eregai was the first officer to be vetted and faced a hard time explaining how he acquired a parcel of land in Isiolo.

In response, Eregai said the land was allocated to him as family inheritance and stressed that he had no other sources of income except his salary.

"I was born in Isiolo, so that is the land I have known since I was born... the land that has been ours in the family for as long as I can remember," he stated. "All I was getting as a police officer went to savings."

He also revealed the circumstances under which he was moved to the Ministry of Local Government at one point in his career.

"The circumstances that led to my movement to the Ministry of Local Government was that there was some re-shuffle within the police service and I was given a letter to report to the Ministry of Local Government. So I reported to the ministry within an hour of receiving that document," he stated at the start of the exercise," he said.

He further underscored the need to pay officers enough to enable them concentrate on their work.

"I would request and urge that if that area is looked into, you will see a big turnaround in the Police Service."

On his part Koskei who was also retired was the last senior officer to undergo the vetting exercise, was hard pressed to respond to allegations of abuse of office during his various ranks in the service.

He was accused of sacking police officers without proper investigation to ascertain if they had committed any misdeeds.

In his defence, Koskei told the vetting panel that he was only enforcing the law saying he does not entertain recklessness in service to the citizens.

"I do not allow any mistake to happen under my watch. I acted in all cases with a reason," he said.

He also noted that police reforms were on course despite financial challenges.

"We have changed our curriculum in training of the police officers which aligns with the new Constitution on a better police service for all," he observed.

He has served in the police force for a period of 36 years and harbours a chunk of experience.

Okonya who deputised former police commissioner Mathew Iteere had a difficult time when he was asked to explain how he acquired his wealth without ever taking a loan from a financial institution.

"I would like you to tell us exactly how you acquired these properties. When we look at your bank statement, there is no link to indicate that there were loan repayments," one of the panellists posed.

"All what I was getting went into savings. It is after that when I invested in land so I never went to any bank for a loan," he replied.

The Commissions Chairman also announced that the next phase that comprises 25 officers in the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police shall commence on January 7, 2014.

"The 25 officers will be interviewed by one panel, with five officers being interviewed daily for five days," he said.

The third phase will comprise interviewing about 200 officers in the ranks of senior assistant commissioner of police and assistant commissioner of police that will be vetted by four panels.

The National Police Service has over the last nine months been involved in developing processes, principles and tools to facilitate the vetting of all police officers as required by the National Police Service Act.

Interior Cabinet secretary Joseph ole Lenku launched the vetting process on November 25, 2013 aimed at building confidence and trust in the National Police Service.

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InFocus

Kenya Police Vetting Enters Phase Two

Vetting of senior police officers in Kenya enters phase two (file photo).

The second phase of police vetting has kicked off following the sacking of three senior officers in the first phase. Read more »