, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 24 – A former director with the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission John Mutonyi was hard pressed on Tuesday to explain why he failed to investigate complaints raised against former Commissioner of Police Hussein Ali by a junior officer.
Mutonyi who appeared before a panel vetting candidates to the powerful Independent Policing Oversight Authority was asked why he failed to take action on a letter forwarded to the commission by a former Superintendent of Police Mohammed Godana Jarsa who had complained of interference from higher authorities in a tax evasion case he was investigating at the port of Mombasa.
Mutonyi was the deputy director of the KACC working under the then Director Justice [Rtd] Aaron Ringera when Jarsa sent the letter dated August 10, 2006.
“Are you aware of this matter?” a member of the panel vetting the candidates Caroli Omondi asked.
Mutonyi told the panel he was aware of the case and sought to defend himself against the allegations levelled against him.
He said, upon receipt of Jarsa’s letter, he met him at the KACC Integrity Centre office and discussed the matter with him before he assigned it to investigators.
“I did not decline to carry out the investigations on the matter; upon receipt of the complaint from this officer, I took up the matter and assigned it to one of the officer. It was later recommended that it be taken up by the Kenya Revenue Authority because the case in question was about tax evasion,” he said.
The officer had complained in the letter that the former police commissioner Ali, the then CID Director Joseph Kamau and then Head of Police Operations Peter Kavila had been interfering with a tax evasion case he was investigating alongside two other officers who were all transferred from their stations. Jarsa was sacked when he failed to report to his new station in Lokitaung.
“Jarsa says in a petition sent to this panel that despite having visited you at the KACC eight times, you or your officers never asked him to record a statement. He has told us you are not fit to hold this position,” Mr Omondi, an advisor in Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s office told Mutonyi.
In response, Mutonyi told the panel that “Jarsa had wanted us to investigate Ali [former police commissioner] on allegations of corruption and after assigning this case to one of our officers at the KACC, I got a report back that the case could not be pursued and that is why we referred it to the KRA.”
The case Jarsa was investigating in Mombasa at the time was related to the Sh6.4 billion Cocaine haul.
Jarsa’s allegations were also tabled in Parliament sometimes last year.
Mutonyi told the panel that he was suitable to hold the position as a member of the policing oversight authority, because of his past experience at the KACC and positions held while serving at the Kenya Police, particularly when he served as the deputy CID Director.
“I have immense experience on police work, and I have passion for police reforms,” he told the panel, outlining his contributions in the two government departments.
He said he was part of a dream team that came up with a blue print which outlines police reforms that are currently being implemented.
“I have been a police reformist for a long time, in fact, after coming back from the UK in 2003, I helped in coming up with most of the recommendations that were included in the current draft of police reforms,” he said.
“And when I served as the Deputy CID director, I embraced reforms because I even started a policy where we could reward academic excellence and most officers were promoted,” he said.
He also recommended at the time to have police officers kept out of duties of guarding buildings, VIP’s and as drivers.
“These are some of the reforms I embraced because they could have helped us free our officers from being overloaded with work to because we don’t have enough officers,” he told the panel in persuading members to nominate him to be a member of the policing authority.
The panel chaired by Tache Gollo kicked off interviews for the members on Monday. Once the authority is formed, it will be responsible for investigating complaints raised against police officers.
Twenty-six candidates were short listed for interviews out of the 123 who applied.
Former Provincial Prisons Commander Ambrose Ngare was the first to be interviewed.
Other candidates who have since appeared before the panel include Joseph Murithi, Richard Onsongo, Hassan Bardad, Tororei Kipngetich, Balale Samuel, Tasfae and Mbugua Thomas Kagwe.