Top cops sacked over M-Pesa bribery

Administration Police spokesman Masoud Mwinyi is among the officers sent home in the latest purge. PHOTO | FILE
Administration Police spokesman Masoud Mwinyi is among the officers sent home in the latest purge. PHOTO | FILE 

The National Police Service Commission (NPSC) has sent 63 senior officers packing after investigations linked them to massive corruption with M-Pesa used as a conduit in the transfer of illicit cash.

Most of the officers were from the Traffic Department while others were accused of serious crimes like human trafficking, smuggling and forgeries as well as violating the rights of Kenyans.

The purge followed 14 months of investigations in which the commission vetted 1,364 police officers from all units.

While the corrupt officers preferred mobile money transfers to limit cash dealings, it offered the commission a trail of the suspect financial dealings that they were involved in.

“Through a scrutiny of M-Pesa statements, the commission was able to establish that junior officers working in the Traffic Department regularly transferred fixed amounts of money to some of their seniors, suggesting that they had been given targets,” chairman Johnston Kavuludi said on Thursday while announcing the vetting results.

“It also emerged that most M-Pesa kiosks within and around police stations are either owned or contracted by police officers for purposes of facilitating direct money transfers in order to cover their tracks.

The depositors are mostly motorists or junior officers making transfers to their seniors.”

One of the officers sacked is a division commander (OCPD) who had accumulated Sh7.7 million in a span of 17 months and could not account for it.

Another officer, a constable – which is the lowest pay grade in the police with a monthly salary of Sh30,000 – made Sh3.1 million within three months when he was stationed at a weighbridge.

Mr Kavuludi said it was common for junior officers to collect bribes from the public and give a portion to their commanders.

“Most importantly, vetting has brought to the fore the complex corruption networks and the interface between junior officers and their seniors,” he added.

Mr Kavuludi announced that the next round of vetting would target all officers in the Traffic Department.

Those sent home Thursday included 28 senior superintendents, 32 superintendents, and three assistant superintendents.

Officers in these ranks hold responsible positions in the service, with most being OCPDs, deputy OCPDs, divisional criminal investigations officers and even county commanders.

Administration Police spokesman Masoud Mwinyi was among the officers sent home.

The fate of 29 other senior officers hangs in the balance after the commission said they would be investigated further before a decision is made. Most of them are regional traffic enforcing officers.