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Vetting: How Coast police tried to alter M-Pesa records

By Mwangi Muraguri | May 26th 2016
Sergeant Kadenge Kazungu, an officer in the Voi Highway Patrol Unit adjusts his head gear before the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) Vetting Panel. Traffic police officers in Coast region are allegedly erasing or tampering with their M-Pesa records to conceal questionable money transactions.  (PHOTO: KELVIN KARANI/ STANDARD)

The National Police Service Commission yesterday revealed that police officers in Mombasa altered their M-Pesa records before their vetting.

The vetting panel noticed discrepancies from the statements submitted by the officers and those from the mobile service provider.

Other officers opted to send money directly through money transfer agents instead of using their phones.

Sergeant Wycliffe Kundu said he sent money to people through the agents because he was ‘always in a hurry’.

Sergeant Benard Kazungu described his relationship with the huge number of people he sent money to as ‘friends, relatives and colleagues’.

Traffic police officers in Coast region are erasing or tampering with their M-Pesa records to conceal questionable money transactions.

The National Police Service Commission vetting panel now says it has discovered that some officers tried to alter their M-Pesa transactions electronically when they learned they would be questioned about them.

A member of the vetting panel who spoke to The Standard in confidence said some of the officers downloaded and changed details of the M-Pesa transactions they submitted to the commission ahead of the start of the vetting.

"We noticed that there were discrepancies in some of the statements submitted to the commission by the officers compared with the records obtained by the commission from Safaricom," said the member who requested anonymity.

Some of the officers sent money directly from M-Pesa mobile money transfer agents instead of the usual way where an agent sends money to a phone then the money is sent from the phone.

Bernard Kazungu Kadenge of Highway Patrol Unit in Voi was taken to task over the many transactions he made with people he described as either friends, relatives or colleagues in the police service.

Sergeant Kadenge said he was the custodian of a Sh5,000 weekly contribution in a merry-go-round involving six officers.

Commissioner Mary Owuor wondered why he only used selected M-Pesa agents to send money directly to various persons.

"Can you give us the reason for sending money directly from the agent instead of having the money deposited into your M-Pesa account, then sending it as is the norm?" she posed.

The commissioner also chided the officer for his generosity to friends and strangers.

Staff welfare

"So you just send money to friends... so would you also send me something if I give you my number?" asked the commissioner, drawing laughter from those present.

Wycliffe Kundu from Mombasa, whose money transfer records showed he received and sent money from junior and senior officers, attributed his habit of sending money directly from an M-Pesa agent to "being always in a hurry".

Sergeant Kundu defended the transactions, saying he was involved in the welfare of his fellow officers and his sister-in-law.

Okere Jairus, who is based in Webuye in Bungoma, had a hard time explaining why he sent money to the late Urban OCPD Martin Asin 10 times.

Sergeant Okere, formerly based in Kilifi County, told the panel that Mr Asin had on several occasions asked him for "assistance".

Mr Okere's said he had been tasked by his seniors to collect money from officers to help sick colleagues or families of those who had died.

The panel reprimanded three officers for breaking the law. Panellists were shocked by an officer who is yet to transfer a car to his name two years after he acquired it.

Corporal Daniel Kipkorir Ngeiywa admitted not transferring the vehicle to his name within 14 days as required and promised do so immediately.

Constable Hassan Ali Sahal from Kwale admitted being absent from duty without official leave for 41 days in 2001.

Sergeant Nancy Awuor, who is based at the Mtwapa Weighbridge, claimed she was charged after she failed to give in to his boss' sexual demands.

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