, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – Thirty-two senior police officers underwent serious personal scrutiny Monday as the third phase of the national police vetting exercise kicked off in Nairobi.
The 32 are among 166 officers in the rank of senior assistant commissioners of police and assistant commissioners of police who are to be vetted in the next two weeks.
Unlike in the last two phases, in Monday’s session, there were four panels being led by various commissioners of the National Police Service Commission.
Vitalis Otieno who is currently attached to the CID headquarters, revealed to the panel how a section of police officers serving under the anti narcotic department gained wealth by colluding with drug barons.
He said such officers are enticed by the ‘easy money’ that comes along while executing their duties.
“Most officers who want to be corrupt would like to serve under this department so that they get easy money. Due to the few numbers of narcotic officers in the field, if a corrupt officer comes across these drugs, he will spoil the case,” he pointed out.
In such a case, he said the officer does not confirm the quantity or even take the necessary details.
Otieno who once served in the department said proper training and equipment to detect illegal drugs should be enhanced if the war against drug abuse was to be won.
“In the drug unit, there are so many challenges; first is the placement, the people there may not have the slight idea of what they are supposed to do; some even don’t know how some drugs looks like,” he lamented.
The Johnstone Kavuludi led panel wanted to know how the drug menace in the country can be stopped, and Otieno also said that lack of facilities in the service was a stumbling block.
“It was better off if border points and airports have equipment to detect drugs… you cannot detect drugs by just looking at them,” he said.
He recommended that only specially trained police officers should be assigned to enhance performance.
On financial probity, Kavuludi pointed out that despite Otieno being in the anti-narcotic his wealth was not much.
“As an officer who was once there, looking at your records we don’t find anything that seems to suggest that you acquired wealth as an officer in charge, how did you manage to come out with this kind of record?” Kavuludi posed.
Otieno in his response said: “Placements of officers is very important. We must choose the right officers who have passion in fighting the menace. It has so many temptations…’easy money’,” he said.
Also vetted on Monday was Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru and Nairobi Deputy Commandant Moses Ombati.
Kimaru revealed the country had 2,000 traffic police officers, whom he said were overworked due to the high population they were serving.
In the country, he said there are 600,000 motorbikes.
Asked of his performance as the Traffic Commandant, Kimaru said seven officers have been sacked, eight demoted and 32 disciplined for taking bribes.
Also vetted was Patrick Muhuni who is currently at the Nairobi boss of the Criminal Investigation Department.
Muhuni said for crime to be reduced, the National Police Service was required to work with the Judiciary to ensure justice to victims and criminals.
He said it was frustrating for police to apprehend criminals only to be released by the court on ground that proper procedures were not taken during the arrest.
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.
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.
At the end of the exercise, 80,000 police officers will be vetted in a bid to reform the National Police Service.
Out of 30 senior police officers who underwent vetting, 7 were sacked.