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Probe told suspended PPO used fake court orders

COUNTIES
By - | January 23rd 2013

By KARANJA NJOROGE and PATRICK KIBET

Nakuru, Kenya: Suspended Rift Valley Provincial Police Officer John M’mbijiwe exerted pressure on an OCPD to release vehicles impounded for criminal activities in Subukia using fake court orders.

The team investigating police impostor Joshua Waiganjo’s activities, heard how he and M’mbijiwe pressurised Subukia OCPD Jacinta Wesonga Odhiambo to release the two lorries, one of which belonged to Waiganjo.

Ms Wesonga said the two engaged in a phone conversation with a person they claimed was Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere. The lorries were impounded after the public alerted the police of a cattle theft mission. 

Wesonga said on scrutinising the documents the PPO had shown her, she realised it was not a court order, but an affidavit, a certificate of urgency and motion of court.

She said while they were in the PPO’s office, Waiganjo’s phone rang and after a few minutes of conversation the impostor handed her the phone to talk to her senior but she declined.

Stolen lorry

She said M’mbijiwe took the phone after she declined and purportedly talked to a person he said was Iteere.

“The PPO asked me unajua huyo ni nani? Huyo ni CEO I then asked the PPO CEO ni nani? and he told me it was Iteere, the Police Commissioner,”  she stated.

“Unakataa amri ya mkubwa?  unajua huyu (Waiganjo) ni rafiki ya Iteere sana?,” the OCPD who was testifying in the second day of the Committee hearings in Nakuru said.

She said when she insisted there must be a court order to release the lorries, a lawyer later came with a proper court order and the lorry was released to an auctioneer Geoffrey Ndungu, who was accompanied by Waiganjo’s brother John Waiganjo. 

The OCPD said she, however, refused to release the second lorry as a Nakuru businessman had claimed it, saying it had been stolen in Nakuru town. 

“The PPO called me again seeking to know why I was continuously defying court and threatened not to work with me,” she said.

The OCPD said she pleaded with Mbijjiwe to allow her establish the true owner of the lorry before should could release it.

Wesonga said a team from the crime scene unit later established the vehicle chassis number and engine did not match.

“I told the PPO to wait for ownership to be determined but he insisted withholding the vehicles was in contravention of the court orders,” she said.  

The PPO, whose office was mentioned in the connection with enforcement of the court order, was furious with her for falling to release the lorries.

The OCPD said she asked for a few days off to attend to her sick son and on reporting back, she found the lorry had been released.

“On enquiring from the OCS he told me they had been asked to release the lorry and the PPO had visited the station and inspected the lorry,” she added.

As hearing entered day two in Nakuru, it also emerged Waiganjo was not attached to the Kenya Police Reservist.

Waiganjo, who had access to police vehicles, also authorised a vehicle using the police number of a constable in the force.

John Muthanga, Rift Valley provincial armoury officer, told the probe team led by Mary Owour, that police reservists were banned from urban areas in 2004.

“There used to be two categories of police reservists but in 2004 they were banned in all urban centres. The ban has never been uplifted,” he said.

Muthanga said he is in charge of issuing uniforms to all regular police officers in Rift Valley and issuing firearms to OCPDs.

“However, my office is not in charge of issuing uniforms to police reservists,” he told the team.

He said Waiganjo’s uniform did not originate from his office and his office did not issue him a firearm.

“He is not a police reservist as per my current records. I cannot, however, tell if in earlier years he was since we could not locate the file,” he said.

Muthanga said Rift Valley has 4,700 police reservists serving in 15 police divisions. “There has been no single police reservist at Rift Valley police headquarters and the senior most officer in KPR is a chief inspector,” he reiterated.

He said the last time there was an assistant commissioner of police in the province was in March last year and the officer was transferred to Nyeri.

He said there was no distinction between uniforms worn by Kenya Police reservists and the regular police.

Another witness, Chief Inspector Stephen Komen said he was shocked when news broke that Waiganjo was an impostor.

The staffing officer at provincial headquarters told the team he issued a police vehicle to Waiganjo on two occasions.

“I used to see Waiganjo entering the PPO’s office on several occasions and on October 9 last year, M’mbijiwe requested me to personally accompany Waiganjo to Naivasha which I did,” Komen said.

He said he was not suspicious of Waiganjo before his arrest and only followed orders from his seniors.

West Pokot OCPD David Wambua said the PPO ordered him to open a personnel file for Waiganjo in Kapenguria, but he declined.

He said M’mbijjiwe called him on November 23 and told him Waiganjo was on his way to Kapenguria from Nakuru and he should attend to him.

“When M’mbijiwe learnt I was not in the office, he called me and ordered me to go back to the office and attend to Waiganjo,” he said.

He said Waiganjo introduced himself as an assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of reservists in the Rift Valley and had been sent to open a personnel file in Kapenguria.

“I was extremely disturbed and knew there was problem as letters for an assistant Commissioner of Police are not authored by a person of my rank,” he said.

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