By Antony Gitonga
A man alleged to have masqueraded as a senior police officer in the Rift Valley will have his day in court.
Joshua Karanjahi Waiganjo, who is claimed to have been posing as the Rift Valley Deputy Provincial Police Officer (PPO) and an Assistant Commissioner of Police, was charged in a Naivasha court with four different counts.
The composed suspect was later taken to Naivasha District Hospital after it emerged he needed medical attention.
Members of the public revealed how he allegedly fleeced them and “sacked” police officers at will.
Some of those interviewed who requested that their names not be revealed said the middle-aged man came to Naivasha in 1997 from Timboroa where he was employed as a matatu conductor.
“He claimed to have been displaced in post-election violence and he worked along the Nairobi-Naivasha road for some years,” said one of the witnesses.
Later he headed to Eldoret where he worked as a bodyguard for an influential transporter in the town before he was fired.
The witness said that they later came to learn that he had joined the police force and would be seen with senior police officers.
Junior officers along the Nairobi-Nakuru-Eldoret highway told of the fear and mental torture he inflicted on them before his arrest.
“Initially we doubted that this man was a police officer due to the manner he presented himself and our worst fears have been confirmed,” said one of the officers.
So feared was the man that Naivasha residents and police officers were unwilling to reveal their names when narrating the trouble he had caused them.
A Naivasha trader, who also declined to be named, claimed he met the accused several times at the Rift Valley Provincial headquarters where he “assisted” many.
He alleged the man would drive around in police vehicles and even attend high-powered meetings with senior police officers.
“All along we have known that he was a senior police officer and we are still trying to understand how he operated for over five years without being detected,” he said.
An officer from the Anti-Stock Theft Unit narrated how the suspect “sacked” a junior officer and took away his wife.
The officer said the suspect could have compromised security issues due to his access to sensitive information.
The man’s influence allegedly extended to police recruitment where it is claimed he was among officers who participated in supervising the exercise in Njoro District last year, without raising any eyebrows.
“We used to live in fear as he had made it his habit to intimidate junior officers and in some of the police stations he visited some officers would go into hiding,” said a police constable said.
The father of two is said to have lived in various towns, including Njoro, Gilgil, and Elburgon.
It is also claimed that at one point, Waiganjo would enjoy rides in the vehicle of a former senior provincial officer in the force who has since been transferred.
Others claimed that as late as last month, he was seen at the Rift Valley Provincial headquarters where he “assisted” those with pressing problems.
On Thursday, a businessman told The Standard that the suspect gave him a cheque for Sh200, 000 that later bounced.
Contacted on phone, Rift Valley PPO John M’Mbijiwe called the accused a conman whose time had come.
“We have identified him as a conman and he shall be charged in court with various offences as investigations into the matter continue,” he said.
His cover was blown after he flew in a police chopper accompanied by senior officers to Suguta Valley after over 40 police were killed.
It was after that visit that questions started emerging about his identity, which culminated in his arrest on December 31, last year, in Eldama Ravine after a dramatic police chase.
During a police raid on his houses in Gilgil and Njoro, assorted police uniforms were recovered.
Police said they have credible evidence he could also have been behind a spate of highway robberies, especially around Kikopey along the Nairobi-Nakuru road.
Senior police officers from the Rift Valley Provincial headquarter and the Special Crime Prevention Unit interrogated the suspect at the Naivasha Police Station.
Naivasha District Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Joseph Mburu said Waiganjo was admitted at the institution on Thursday suffering from diabetes.
He, however, described the suspect’s condition as stable, adding that they had taken his samples and were awaiting the results.