, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 12 – The drug menace in the country and specifically in the coast region dominated the day as senior police officers being vetted were put to task to explain their efforts to contain it.
The vetting panel led by the Chairman of the National Police Service Commission Johnstone Kavuludi wanted to know why the drug menace has continued to persist while they were still serving the public in their various ranks.
The Coast Region police coordinator Aggrey Adoli Kikuyu said lack of proper equipment like speed boats to monitor the ocean have hampered their war against drug trafficking in the region.
“They (traffickers) sometimes laugh at us when we try to reach them,” he lamented.
While being put to task by the police vetting panel on the issue, Adoli said that despite police efforts to fight the menace lack of resources remain a huge challenge.
”We lack proper facilities that can help us counter the problem…a lot of investment is required in the sector, ” he stated.
He appealed to the government to put up rehabilitation centers that can help those reforming from the menace.
“We need a place to take those who are reforming. It is a very sad situation which needs to be widely dealt with,” he said.
Earlier on, the Deputy Director of Reforms Kingori Mwangi had also been tasked on the same issue.
He said the drug war was a national menace saying police alone could not win it.
“This cannot be dealt by police alone, all stakeholders must be involved in ensuring the situation is improved,” he pointed out.
Mwangi was also put to task to explain an incidence where illegal drugs amounting to Sh6 billion had been confiscated in Mombasa.
The vetting panel wanted to know the role he played in the recovery of the drugs and the aftermath.
During the occurrence, Mwangi was by then the Mombasa Provincial Police Officer.
The panel also asked him to explain his link with the death of a GSU officer killed in Kitale who was involved in the recovery of the drugs.
He categorically stated that he was not involved in the recovery and also said the officer never served under him.
“No police officer serving under me was involved in the operation. It was entirely done by the General Service Unit officers,” he said.
He termed it as defamatory any attempt to link him to the killing.
“I have never served as an officer in that area,” he stated.
He added that, “I did not participate and any attempt to say so is like trying to say I want to become the next Pope and am not even a Catholic!.”
He called for more rehabilitation centre’s saying that when he served in the coast region he only came across three centers.
He attributes the drug problem in the region to the low economic challenges among the locals saying the problem of drug trafficking needs an inclusive approach as “police alone cannot stop it.”
Also vetted was the Deputy Commissioner of Administration Police in charge of personnel Eusebius Laibuta.
He was challenged to put in plain words on how he gained his wealth.
At one time the Chairman of the panel asked him to be specific. “Stop saying that you work from here and there, be specific so that we can understand,” the chairman had posed.
Commissioners in charge of financial probity at one time said they had no question for him as his statements were confusing.
It also emerged that he was not sure of where he owned properties an example a plot in the coast region where he said, “somewhere in Malindi.”
He was further grilled to explain on the source of some deposits he had made in his bank account which he said, “I did some business.”
“You cannot tell what you get in a tea farm in a year?” Joseph Kaguthi had posed.
He kept on telling the commission to refer to the statement as, “I cannot remember and I do not want to start counting. I will waste time for the commission.”
He had also not declared all his accounts. “I have not declared all my accounts because the rest have no money.”
“I never knew i was supposed to give all my accounts,” a stammering Laikuta said.
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.
The commission will analyse the findings and the outcome will be communicated to the individual officers vetted and subsequently made public after two weeks.
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.
So far, the vetting exercise has seen three senior officers – Francis Okonya, Peter Eregae and Jonathan Koskei, all of police headquarters – retired.