, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 19 – The vetting of seven senior police officers has concluded, with three officers being interviewed on Wednesday, in an exercise held at Kenyatta International Convention Centre.
Those interviewed during Wednesday’s session, were the Administration Police Training College Commandant Omar Shurie, the Commandant of the Kiganjo Police Training College Peter Kavila, and Police Reforms director Jonathan Koskei.
Koskei, who was the last senior officer to undergo the 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.
The second senior police officer to appear before the vetting panel was the Administration Police Training College Commandant Omar Shurie.
He was taken to task by the panel to explain how he has acquired his wealth particularly two pieces of land, one in Mavoko and another in Garissa.
With his authoritative voice, Shurie caused laughter in the room as he explained to the panel that as a parent, he had well educated children who are supporting him.
He went ahead to explain that one of his property in question was built by his children and he had only contributed a small amount of money.
“I have sons and daughters who I have educated and they do assist me… for the last two years I have not been spending any coin from my salary,” he pointed to prove the enormous support he gets.
Amidst laughter, he added that “After completing their school, it’s their responsibility to come and support their father. That is my policy.”
He affirmed that all his wealth had been acquired rightfully in his 39 years career in the Police Service.
He pointed out that the country was facing a shortage of police officers as the current ratio was one police officer serving 1,200 people against the recommended ratio of one police officer serving 450 people.
“Despite strained resources in the service, we need a high number of police officers and also have the capacity to offer quality services to members of the public,” he stated.
The Commandant of the Kiganjo Police Training College, Peter Kavila, was also taken to task to explain how some Sh2.9 million collected from recruits for medical expenses were utilised, and if they were justified to pay for them.
In his defence, Kavila told the vetting panel that the money was collected from the recruits to cater for their expenses because the government had failed to provide adequate finances.
He pointed out that the student welfare fund had been initiated long before he joined the college as a commandant.
“The fund was started 11 years before I took over specifically to cater for students particularly the recruits who come to the college. Even when they report, some of them come without money and they usually fall sick because of the climate there,” he affirmed.
Kavila told the panel that he was not directly in charge of the funds, which were managed by an independent committee at the college, which is currently training 2,000 recruits.
“The money is run by a committee at the junior training wing. The committee normally seats every time there is a needy case,” he explained.
He also dismissed reports that he has been favouring officers from his community for promotion, saying, promotions are approved from police headquarters.
“That allegation is not proper and those officers were not posted there by mistake,” he said.
He added that “Every person in the college falls under a certain wing or faculty. It is upon the faculty head to select people he deems fit for promotion.”
He further explained that after a selection, the names are presented to the commandant after which he recommends them to the police headquarters.
He also denied claims of corruption during recruitment.
Issues of corruption, nepotism and favouritism, dominated his session assessing his 36 years in the service.
On Monday four other senior police officers went through the same process.
The vetting process is being conducted pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution Article 246 and National Police Service Act (2011) Section 7(2) and (3) which stipulate that members of the National Police Service shall undergo vetting to assess their suitability and competence.
The overall objective of the vetting is to build confidence and trust in the National Police Service.
The applicable vetting standards include officers’ satisfaction of entry and training requirements, their professional conduct and discipline, integrity, financial probity, and respect for human rights.
National Police Service Commission Chairman Johnstone Kavuludi assured all the officers being vetted that the exercise would be free and fair, with no witch-hunting.
“The commission is aware that for this exercise to be successful, it must be conducted in a manner that meets the expectations of both the officers and the public,” he stated.
The commission will analyse the findings and the outcome will be communicated to the individual officers vetted and subsequently made public.
Officers who satisfy the commission with regard to competence and suitability will be retained and those who do not will be removed from the service.
During the two day exercise, the government was put on spot for the poor living conditions among the police.