Koome admits graft rife in police, says officers don't like their uniform

Inspector General of Police nominee Japheth Koome. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Inspector General of Police nominee Japheth Koome has admitted that corruption is rampant in the force.

Appearing before the Senate and the National Assembly committees yesterday, Koome promised to address the vice once he assumes office.

The nominee said some people were giving bribes as high as Sh600,000 to be recruited into the service, which he said perpetuated corruption as such officers seek to recover the money.

"I would like to state that 98 per cent of police officers are professional in their duties. However, we have a few rogue officers who are giving Kenya Police Service a bad name," he told the legislators.

He said all officers will be required to display name tags when on duty.

Koome said he will engage service commanders to introduce a reward scheme for citizens who capture police officers taking bribes.

The incoming IG disclosed his net worth was Sh89 million invested mostly in land and farming activities that earned him Sh9 million annually.

Koome, who has served for 31 years, has invested in shares in the police sacco, several vehicles, two tractors, dairy farming and 37 acres of land in his rural area, two plots in Meru, two in Kitengela and a home in Nairobi.

The 55-year-old officer, who has a bachelors degree in civil engineering from the University of Nairobi, said he has commanded 15 major operations.

The nominee also said most police officers were not happy about their current uniform, adding that they were not consulted.

The Principal Assistant to the Inspector General of Police recalled how he was caught by surprise when he was asked to have his measurements taken for the new uniform.

"I will establish a directorate that will be headed by a senior officer in the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police to address the mental wellness of officers so to ensure that any challenges that they may be facing while on duty are addressed," said Koome.

He promised to tackle livestock rustling, which he said led to losses of up to Sh50 billion annually.

He said the best way to end the perennial attacks was to deal with the masterminds, not the foot soldiers.

Koome defended himself against allegations contained in a petition challenging his suitability over his conduct during the 2017 post-election violence when he served as the Nairobi Regional Police Commander.

"The matters contained in this petition were investigated and I was not found of any wrongdoing, and I can state that I bear zero per cent responsibility of any wrongdoing," he said.

Koome promised not to have secret service units carrying out clandestine activities, and to have all unexplained deaths investigated.

Among his priorities will be the improvement of officers' living conditions and provision of more equipment.

"I thank President William Ruto for allowing the Inspector General of Police to control funds that will allow him to be in charge of police operations," he said.

Koome also promised to deal with tax evasion and use digital technology to tackle crime. On degrees, he said most recruits with university education use Form Four certificates to be employed only to produce their degree certificates later, which complicates their promotions.

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