Kenya: I'll Dismantle Cartels Taking Bribes, Says Machakos Police Boss

7 November 2019

The Machakos County Police Commander John Karanja has denied claims that junior officers are being intimidated and harassed, saying that corrupt officers are instead fighting back.

The newly deployed police boss said that cartels are fighting back after he stamped his authority and warned officers against engaging in corruption.

Mr Karanja, who has been in office for the last one month, said he is determined to end corruption, land grabbing cases and increased crime in the county.

He said that those who are complaining are now "feeling the heat" as they were used in getting bribes on the roads.

CORRUPTION

"Machakos County, especially in Mlolongo and Athi River, has a high rate of corruption and that is soon going to change," said Mr Karanja.

The police boss said that cartels are r fighting back his effort to clean the system.

"Where I came from in Samburu you will not see any form of money handling by the police but in Machakos all PSVs must "greet" the officers. What for?" he posed.

He said that officers in Machakos are fighting to be deployed to the traffic department where "money is flowing" but warned that this will no longer be tolerated.

BRIBES

He added that traffic officers are getting money from lorries ferrying sand and PSVs which part with between Sh50 and Sh1000.

"The problem is the lorries and PSVs are the same ones operating in the routes and the officers have familiarised themselves with the operators hence it is easy to give bribes. I will dismantle the cartel," vowed Mr Karanja.

On transfers, he said that some of the officers who were recently recalled were transferred without proper investigations into their cases and that no one has paid a bribe to be returned to a particular station.

He said that some officers forwarded names of people they probably disliked and after proper follow-up, they were found to be victims of circumstances.

ARRESTS

On the directive barring officers them from arresting public service vehicles found flouting traffic rules along Mombasa road, Athi River, Chumvi and Machakos, the county commander said some were being apprehended for flimsy reasons.

Mr Karanja said that the vehicles are held without any reason just to mint money from them.

On increased crimes committed by police officers, the county boss said that all OCPDs will have to account for officers in their stations.

He said the OCPDs should be able to physically locate their juniors at all times and report the absentees.

"Some of the police officers are bribing the police post bosses for absenteeism and do not follow up to check if they are indulging in criminal activities," he added.

DOUBTABLE WEALTH

Mr Karanja said that some officers are amassing doubtable wealth as they are living beyond their salaries.

"Things around here will change and if one is found indulging in unethical activities he or she will face the consequences including sacking," he added.

Vehicles operating between Nairobi and Machakos through Mombasa Road are left to freely flout traffic rules by officers who now claim they have been given orders from above.

Speeding above the required 80kms per hour, driving PSVs not fitted with safety belts, overlapping and carrying excess passengers are among the privileges the drivers are said to be enjoying after paying bribes to rogue traffic officers.

The public service vehicles are said to give a weekly protection fee of up to Sh1,000 and whenever the vehicles are found on the wrong, some senior officer order for unconditional release.

"We are paying the bribes as saccos to make our work easier and convenient. Our vehicles found on the wrong are released unconditionally," a driver said.

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