Police officers caught with fake M-Pesa details during vetting

Commissioner Mary Owuor: We showed them the originals and they got tongue-tied. PHOTO | FILE
Commissioner Mary Owuor: We showed them the originals and they got tongue-tied. PHOTO | FILE 

Police Service commissioners have rejected attempts by most officers being vetted to link their M-Pesa transactions to merry-go-round as some were caught with fake mobile money transfer statements.

This follows an emerging pattern at police vetting going on at Government Training College in Mombasa where a majority of the officers claim the many M-Pesa transactions are ‘chama’ cash details.

Some officers have attempted to erase M-Pesa statements from Safaricom to conceal transactions without success, the panel heard.

Commissioner Mary Owuor told the Press that some police officers had tried to tamper with their M-Pesa statements while the commission had acquired the same earlier.

“Some officers appeared before us with tampered statements. However, we showed them the original ones and they had nothing to explain. We always have a way to go deeper to the truth,” she said.

The bulk of M-Pesa transactions involved junior police officers sending cash to their seniors in posts stretching hundreds of kilometres apart.

“It is emerging that this is a mere cover-up, a mere scapegoat by officers for the numerous M-Pesa transactions made to their seniors,” said Commissioner Mohamed Murshid Wednesday about the merry-go-round responses.

“Records in our hands indicate that junior officers send too much money to their seniors which we believe is for protection or favours of some kind,” added Mr Murshid.

More than 90 per cent of officers who have appeared before the commission since Tuesday in the exercise that ends on June 4, have admitted sending huge amounts of money to their seniors but claimed that it was for pooling resources in their savings plans.

Funeral expenses

Others have claimed they have been helping their seniors to meet medical or funeral expenses.

Corporal Daniel Kipkiror based at Bomet was tasked to explain why he sent money through M-pesa to another officer 49 times using a friend’s number.

Mr Kipkorir and a colleague based at Mariakani Police Station Philip Kigem Kurgat were ordered to produce their M-Pesa statements before the commission Wednesday.

Appearing before deputy chairman of the commission Ronald Musengi, Mr Kipkorir and his colleague David Kipruto Bargoria admitted that they operate matatus against established rules barring them to engage in such business.

“I operate a passenger ‘Probox’ from Machakos junction, a matatu and a tractor, which I hire out to fellow farmers with an income of Sh300,000-Sh400,000 annually,” said Mr Bargoria.

Mr Kipkiror said that he also operates a matatu, to which commissioner Musengi asked: “Do you know that as a traffic police officer you are not allowed to operate such a business because it creates a conflict of interest?”

Mr Murshid asked Mr Kipkiror to explain why he had not transferred the ownership of a vehicle he bought in 2014 “when you know the law very well that you must transfer the vehicle ownership within 14 days”.

The centres on the profession, entry qualifications, human rights, disciplinary and money questions.