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Tension grips police service as special unit goes after corrupt officers

The National Police Service (NPS) has formed a special unit to net corrupt officers. The unit, based at the Vigilance House and headed by an officer of the rank of a Commissioner of Police (CP), is made up of 300 officers drawn from the General Service Unit (GSU) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

It has been in operation for the last one week and has already caused a sharp division within the service. At least nine traffic police officers and two members of the public have been arrested throughout the country.

On November 10 at around 3pm, the unit arrested Constable Jackson Chepsiror Kiptanui for allegedly soliciting for a bribe from motorists.

The team recovered a total of Sh14, 450 from the officer who was later placed in custody at the Thika Police station. The exhibits included 112 notes of Sh100 denomination and 65 notes of Sh50 denomination.

Another officer namely Corporal Alex Mureithi, however, managed to escape from the scene. The Thika traffic boss was directed to escort the officer to the police headquarters.

ARRESTED

On November 11, along the Embu-Nairobi road the team arrested Corporal Julius Mutune, a driver attached to the Eastern region traffic headquarters. The team also arrested Ms Jane Marigu Ireri, an Embu County Government revenue collector.

The Corporal was performing traffic check duties together with Corporal Abudo Galgalo, Constable Henry Kamau, and Constable Mohammed Hassan.

The officers from Vigilance had positioned themselves around the place and claimed that they saw Corporal Mutune taking the money and handed over to Ms Ireri.

The same day, three other officers and a motorist were arrested in Kiganjo, along the Nyeri-Nanyuki road, and a total of Sh15, 950 recovered from them.

The arrested officers were identified as Sergeant Raphael Mutiso Kithuka, Constable Jackson Mwaka Kasambia, and Constable Vincent Gatuma Wanjiru, who is also a police driver.

A matatu driver, Paul Mahinda Wahome, who was found giving a bribe was also arrested.

DEMANDING BRIBES

The unit has caused anxiety and tension within the service with police officers. Some have warned that since it was only targeting a particular department, the general objective of dealing with crime within the service was unlikely to be achieved.

“This if not checked, may culminate into departmental balkanization and warfare,” read one post by a police officer on Facebook.

The officers also want the Inspector General of Police to explain how officers who are found not to have received money will be “compensated” after being embarrassed.

They cited a case where an officer is arrested in full glare of public watch, roughed up, but nothing found on them.

Others feel that the corruption within the service should be dealt with first. Senior officers within the personnel department are said to be demanding bribes for lucrative deployments, transfers, and even promotions of junior officers.