, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 8 – The National Police Service Commission has suspended three senior police officers including Rift Valley Provincial Police Chief (PPO) John M’mbijiwe over the controversy surrounding a man who has been posing as a senior police officer.
Those suspended together with M’mbijiwe are Michael Remi Ngugi, the Anti Stock Theft Commandant in Gilgil and the Njoro divisional police chief Peter Njeru Nthiga.
“We have interdicted the officers with immediate effect to allow for thorough and conclusive investigations into the matter,” said the commission’s chairman Johnston Kavuludi.
Joshua Waiganjo who is accused of masquerading as a Senior Superintendent of Police since October 2002 “was allegedly deployed in the Nakuru Anti Stock Theft Unit Headquarters as the Deputy Commandant,” Kavuludi explained.
M’mbijiwe will be replaced by the chief firearms licensing officer Levin Mwandi; Ngugi by his deputy Solomon Makau and Nthiga by Superintendent Esau Okadie Ochorokodi.
Kavuludi made the announcement at a press conference attended by commissioners of the National Police Service, including the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo.
Kimaiyo is a part of the investigative team formed to establish how Waiganjo joined the police force, what role he played (if any) in the Baragoi Massacre and if there are any other persons impersonating police officers.
“The committee shall report its findings to the commission within 21 days and the commission will take further appropriate action,” Kavuludi assured.
Apart from Kimaiyo, two other members of the Police Commission will form the team; they are Major Muiu Shadrack Mutia and Mary Owuor. Representatives from the Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNHCR), the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and the Attorney General’s office will also be included.
“If any members of the public have information they are free to come forward and meet with the members that we have appointed,” Kimaiyo said.
President Mwai Kibaki through Head of Civil Service, Francis Kimemia, ordered a probe on Saturday into whether Waiganjo was privy to high level security information, the vehicles and firearms he used, whether he sacked any officers and who was complicit in the farce.
The president ordered the probe just hours after M’mbijiwe said he was introduced to Waiganjo as the Head of Police Reservists Rift Valley six months ago by his predecessor when he took over as Rift Valley PPO.
M’mbijiwe added that he was under the impression that it was former Police Commissioner, Matthew Iteere, who appointed Waiganjo. Iteere denies the claims despite insistence by Waiganjo’s father that they are true.
Bishop Iphraim Karianjahi made the claims after his son was arrested in Koibatek District, Eldama Ravine for impersonating a police officer and highway robbery.
Karianjahi said his son became a police reservist in 2002 before Iteere’s predecessor, Major General Hussein Ali, disbanded the group forcing him to work as a matatu tout.
Waiganjo, Karianjahi went on to say, returned to the Police Service as Ngugi’s deputy when Iteere took over in 2009. Among photographs Karianjahi made public to back his claims is one of M’mbijiwe and Waiganjo in Baragoi.
“He (Waiganjo) was one of those people who accompanied the PPO to Baragoi but that particular day the incident had not occurred,” Kimaiyo sought to clarify at Tuesday’s press conference, “So definitely we cannot conclusively say he was involved.”
About 42 police officers were killed in Baragoi, Samburu County in November while pursuing cattle rustlers.
While communicating the president’s directive, Kimemia called for an audit of the Police Service, which Kavuludi said will be concluded in a month’s time, “the action will weed out ghost officers and provide a critical data base for reforms in the Police Service.”
The audit will seek to establish the number of officers in the Police Service, their ranks, gender, what regions of Kenya they are posted in and their qualifications.