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Court blocks top cop’s sacking after vetting

Through lawyer Evans Monari, Okonya wants the commission's verdict quashed, arguing that the vetting process was not fair and transparent/FILE

Through lawyer Evans Monari, Okonya wants the commission’s verdict quashed, arguing that the vetting process was not fair and transparent/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – Francis Okonya has obtained a temporary order blocking his dismissal as a Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police after failing recent police vetting.

The order was issued by Justice George Odunga who has suspended the decision by the National Police Service Commission to retire Okonya, pending the hearing of his application.

Through lawyer Evans Monari, Okonya wants the commission’s verdict quashed, arguing that the vetting process was not fair and transparent.

Two former senior deputy commissioners of police, Peter Eregae and Jonathan Koskei who were dismissed alongside Okonya have also filed suits challenging the commission’s decision.

Eregae and Koskei argued that the vetting process was conducted in violation of their constitutional rights since there was no quorum, saying that the commission instead invited strangers who sat in the panel contrary to the provisions of the law.

Being among the first officers to start the vetting exercise on December 6 last year, Okonya had a difficult time explaining how he acquired his wealth without ever taking a loan from a financial institution.

The Johnstone Kavuludi-led panel wanted to know why Okonya never applied for a loan throughout his career.

“I would like you to tell us exactly how you acquired these properties. When we look at your bank statement, there is no link to indicate that there were loan repayments,” one of the panellists had posed.

“All what I was getting went into savings. It is after that when I invested in land so I never went to any bank for a loan,” he replied.

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The NPSC announced their outcome on January 3 after an analysis of the first batch of the vetting process of seven senior police officers who were vetted on December 17 and 18, 2013.

The three were found incompetent and unsuitable to continue serving as police officers.

John Ochieng Owino, William Atswenje Saiya, Peter Kilonzo Kavila and Omar Shurie Abdi were however found to be competent and suitable to continue serving as police officers.

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 applicable vetting standards include officers’ satisfaction of entry and training requirements, their professional conduct and discipline, integrity, financial probity, and respect for human rights.

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