|Senior police officers Peter Eregai (left) and Francis Okonya wait to be vetted at the KICC on Tuesday, December 17 when the vetting of police officers began. [PHOTO: COLLINS KWEYU/STANDARD]|
By CYRUS OMBATI
NAIROBI, KENYA: A senior police officer revealed how he was forced to operate from a parking lot for five months after former commissioner of police Maj-Gen Hussein Ali locked him out of office.
Mr Peter Eregai who has served as a police officer for 36 years told the police vetting panel how he was redeployed from the Kenya National Focal Point on Small Arms to Vigilance but Maj-Gen Ali told him he was never consulted and forced the officer to take leave for one month.
When Mr Eregai came back from leave, he was never assigned any duties, and instead Ali told him to hand around as he consulted forcing him to operate from his car.
"I would remain in the car reading newspapers for more than five months until September 2009 when I was called and appointed the deputy director of Criminal Investigations," said Mr Eregai.
Eregai accused Ali of having a vendetta against him over unclear reasons since 2004 when the former police boss joined the service.
He made the revelations when he appeared before the vetting panel at the start of the exercise that is aimed at looking into skills inventory, competence and suitability and integrity of the officers.
The exercise is first targeting seven senior officers at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.
Eregai, a senior Deputy Commissioner of Police Two said he was tossed from one office to the other for almost ten years forcing him to take an early retirement last year but the government again declined to grant him permission to leave.
He was first moved to the office of the President’s Small Arms section by Ali in early 2004 where he served for five years.
And after the then internal security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia sent him back to police, the then police boss told him he had not been consulted.
"He appeared not to be interested on getting me on board and told me to take my leave which I did and came back but he told me to hang on around because he had not sorted out my issues," said Eregai.
It was until after Ali left the police in September 2009 that Eregai was moved to CID for a year and later to the ministry of local government where he served as a deputy secretary.
Come 2011 when he felt frustrated, he decided to retire but Kimemia and then Minister George Saitoti pleaded with him to reconsider his position.
He was however, not deployed until August this year when the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo redeployed him to his office to be in charge of administration.
Mr Eregai who said his property are valued at Sh87.4 million has served as the deputy Commandant, Presidential Escort, officer in charge of the General Service Unit (GSU) elite squad Recce, officer in charge of Quarter Master and deputy commanding officer at the GSU College.
Senior Deputy Commissioner I Mr Francis Omondi Okonya who was the second one to appear before the panel had difficulties to explain the source of huge sums amount of money he had deposited in his bank account on October 10, 2012 amounting to Sh3.8 million.
Mr Okonya who has served as the officer in charge of the Banking Fraud Investigations and also the deputy director of the CID said part of the money came from the Utumishi Sacco, his son who is abroad and wife who is a businesswoman who does not run an account.
“I wish to inform this panel that my wife does not have a bank account and some of the money came from her. My son also sent me part of if,” he said.
But the panellists sought to know why he made the deposits and later withdrew almost all the money a week later.
The money was in cash and cheque ranging between Sh200,000 and Sh500,000.
Panel chair Johnston Kavuludi said that for security reasons, the last part of Okonya's vetting would be held in camera before journalists were asked to leave the hall.
Kavuludi said the vetting panel may retreat to closed sessions whenever sensitive matters are discussed to protect the integrity of the country’s security.
He added officers who satisfy the Commission with regard to competence and suitability will be retained and those who do not will be removed from service.
General Service Unit (GSU) Commandant William Saiya and the Director of the Small Arms Secretariat John Patrick Ochieng were also vetted.
Wednesday, Kiganjo Police Training College Commandant Peter Kavila, Abdi Shurie of the Administration Police Training College and the Director of Reforms at police headquarters Jonathan Koskei will appear before the panel.
Other members of the vetting team include NPSC Commissioners Kavuludi, Ronald Musengi, Mary Owour, Mohamed Murshid, David Kimaiyo, Samuel Arachi, Grace Kaindi, Francis Muhoro, Nyumba Kumi initiative committee members Joseph Kaguthi (Chairman) and two members of his committee security expert Simiyu Werunga and former Criminal Investigations Director (CID) Director Francis Sang and former police officer Mike Harris and don Kimani Njogu.