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Police vetting hit by serious lack of funds

The vetting of police officers may come to a halt  after the National Treasury failed to provide funds for the exercise in the next financial year.

The National Police Service Commission requires Sh115 million for the exercise in the financial year beginning July, but the Treasury has failed to provide funds for it.

The commission said it would be forced to stop the exercise if there is no money.

NPSC commissioner Ronald Musengi told the National Assembly’s Committee on Security that they had been given only Sh319 million against a requested Sh549 million.

According to him, the amount would only cover commissioners’ salaries.

“We will not be able to do the vetting, and it will be unfortunate because it is a task we are supposed to complete. It is really a concern to us and the public. We do not want to start and then stop on the way. We want a smooth sailing,” said Mr Musengi when he appeared before the committee sitting at Continental House, Nairobi.

Nor will the commission be able to recruit any police in the next financial year because they have not been given the Sh70 million they want for the exercise.

SALARIES AND RENT

MPs supported the commission’s requests for more funds, saying it performed critical functions that should not be shelved midway.

Committee chairman Asman Kamama said police vetting was a critical exercise that should not be treated lightly but funded heavily so that desired objectives are achieved.

“If the government wants this commission to function, then it must fund it,” said Mr Kamama, who is also the Tiaty MP.

The commission has been carrying out vetting across the country in a bid to rid the service of corrupt and under-performing police officers.

“This commission seems to exist to only pay salaries and rent. The Treasury must be reasonable and increase its budget to enable it to do its core functions; if it cannot then we can scrap it,” said Kandara MP Alice Wahome.

The exercise targets 80,000 officers and is expected to lead to a more efficient service.

In many surveys, Kenyans have rated the police service as the most corrupt, but the commission expects to improve the institution by vetting.

Mr Musengi said the commissioners have been working harder to ensure that they complete the exercise as quickly as possible.

DISBANDMENT

“This is a vigorous exercise. We have been vetting the officers late into the night and even on Saturdays. Most of the officers now support this exercise unlike initially when there was a lot of suspicion,” said Mr Musengi, who appeared on behalf of the NPSC chairman Johnston Kavuludi.

Some MPs said the commission should be disbanded if it is not receiving funds or achieving its objectives.

However, Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba said it was wrong to propose disbandment since it is a constitutional commission.

“The existence of this committee should not be put to question. This committee should instruct the Treasury to give it enough funds. We cannot sit here and say we disband it,” said Mr Namwamba.

Meanwhile, the commission will open its vetting of police officers to the public and media after excluding them in the last two weeks.

The commission has been privately vetting senior police officers based in Nairobi after carrying out the exercise openly in other parts of the country. MPs criticised the move on Thursday forcing the commissioners to reconsider their decision.

This story first appeared in the Sunday Nation