Three top police officers were yesterday shown the door after a National Police Service (NPSC) vetting panel found them unfit to continue in their roles in a service expected to embrace major reforms.
NPSC chairman Johnston Kavuludi said yesterday that senior deputy commissioners of police Francis Okonya, Jonathan Koskei and Peter Eregae had been retired after they failed to meet the high threshold of suitability and competence required for one to remain in the service.
Mr Okonya, a senior deputy commissioner of police I (SDCP-I), was until yesterday based at the Police Headquarters while Mr Koskei (SDCP-II ) was in charge of police reforms.
Mr Eregae (SDCP-II) served in the office of the Inspector-General.
Mr Kavuludi said the panel’s mandate did not extend to cases where the officers were found to have committed offences that would warrant them to be taken to court.
“The report is detailed and we only communicated to the individual officers. We will also share the information with relevant authorities like the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission,” he said.
“In arriving at the decision, the panel considered each officer’s entry qualification, integrity, financial probity, and respect for human dignity.
I, however, can report that none of the officers retired was found to have violated the rights of the public.”
Four senior police officers passed the first phase of vetting conducted between December 16 and 17 last year and whose results were released yesterday.
They are Patrick Ochieng’ Owino of the Kenya National Focal Point on Small Arms, General Service Unit (GSU) commandant William Atswenje Saiya, Peter Kavila, the commandant of the Kenya Police College, and Omar Abdi Shurie, the commandant of the Administration Police Training College.
The officers were first given the reports individually before it was finally made public.
Mr Kavuludi said a summary of the complaints, including any relevant documentation, was compiled by the panel and investigators sent out to verify some of the allegations made against the officers.
Investigations extended to the officers’ spouses’ accounts. Investigators also visited their spouse’s places of work, rural homes, and businesses.
Mr Saiya, for example, had his properties registered in family name making it difficult for the investigators to establish his true worth.
Though it had been alleged that he was misusing police vehicles, the detectives did not find any authorisation (work ticket) signed by the commandant. For Mr Kavila, the investigators could not establish the wife’s contribution before her death.
Investigations revealed that two officers – Mr Kavila and Mr Eregae – did not fully declare all their wealth. Mr Eregae was found to have not been involved in actual police work for over two years, raising questions on his competence while Mr Okonya could not account for the cash he had in his bank account.
During the vetting, the panel sought to know the source of cash amounting to more than Sh3 million that Mr Okonya transacted in banks over a short period last year. He explained that the money was sent to him by his son who is living abroad and other relatives.
Others were found to be victims of the failure of the system. Investigators found out that Mr Owino, an engineer, had wanted to refund the salary he continued drawing when he served as the director of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) in 2007 but the police headquarters did not follow up on the matter.
The KCAA even wrote a cheque which the police did not bank.
During the vetting, Mr Owino said brought that to the attention of the then Police Commissioner. Later, he did not receive his salary for one year.
The NPSC, however, questioned the deployment of Mr Owino who though a qualified pilot, was appointed by the President as the director of Kenya National Focal Point on Small Arms.
Sources said Mr Owino, who also holds a BSc degree in Aeronautical Engineering and a Masters of Science in Aviation Science, may be deployed to the Kenya Police Airwing or as the director of logistics.
During the vetting he said: “I am a pilot, aeronautical engineer, a qualified air accident investigator, and an examiner. A person of my calibre would excel better in an aviation outfit.”
The panellists also relied on information from the public, police officers, and other legal and human rights organisations during the vetting.
They studied past and present records of the officers, including conduct, discipline and diligence. The adverse reports also touched on the integrity issues and financial probity involving the officer, and their human rights records.
Some of the issues raised include intimidation, failure of the officers to act on reports from the public, corruption, human rights violations among others.
Some officers have been accused of financial mismanagement in the areas they have headed, abuse of power, nepotism and even promotion of their close relatives.
The next phase of vetting is expected to begin on Tuesday next week where other twenty five officers of the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) will face the panel.
Mr Kavuludi said that the second phase of the vetting would take a shorter time since the reports from other institutions and those from the investigators were ready.
OTHERS TO BE VETTED
Those to be vetted next include Levi Mwandi (Police Headquarters), Beatrice Nduta (Community Policing), Alfred Ombaba (Police Headquarters), Leo Nyongesa (Internal Affairs Unit), Aggrey Adoli (Coast), Francis Munyambu (Nairobi Metropolitan Police), Silas McOpiyo (Planning), Joseph ole Tito (Kenya Airports Police Unit), Julius Kanampiu (IGP’s office), and Joseph Ashimala (Kenya Police College).
Others are Charlton Mureithi (Police headquarters), Joel Mboya Kitili (Police Headquarters), Boniface Maingi (GSU), Rhilip Tuimur (Police Headquarters), Kingori Mwangi (Police Reforms), Gideon Kimilu (CID Headquarters), Colonel Rodgers Mbithi (Kenya Police Airwing), Eusedius Laibuta (AP Senior Staff College), and Peter Pamba, Fredrick Mulandi and Fred Mwei all of the Security of Government Building Unit (SGB)
The GSU boss was put to task over alleged financial misappropriations at the GSU headquarters.
He was accused of having diverted the funds to his personal projects in Nairobi and Western region.
The panel had before the vetting brought to his attention 11 accusations which he had to respond to.