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Queries over policemen's lucrative 'side hustle'

COUNTIES
By Patrick Kibet and Mercy Kahenda | August 24th 2016
Driving test examiner. Polycarp Ochieng. Ochieng' and his counterpart John Wainaina were put to task over the source of money that they sent and received via M-Pesa. (PHOTO: KIPSANG JOSEPH/ STANDARD)

Five traffic police officers yesterday contradicted each other over huge sums money that they sent to each other through M-Pesa.

One of the officers, Inspector John Wainaina, told the vetting panel chaired by National Police Service Commission (NPSC) commissioner Ronald Musengi that the money was from a maize business that he operated with his colleagues George Ikiara, Kennedy Rucho, Polycarp Ochieng and Patrick Katheka. The officers are Driving Test Examiners.

NPSC chair Johnston Kavuludi was forced to direct Wainaina, who is in charge of the driving test department, to appear again before the panel after he failed to offer a convincing explanation over the transactions.

Wainana, while being cross-examined by Kavuludi, said they transacted the business through a maize broker in Eldoret whom he only identified as Mr Limo and that the business was based purely on trust.

According to NPSC, the officer and his colleagues had more than 200 M-Pesa transactions amounting to millions of money.

He also had 250 M-Pesa deposits over a period of two years, money whose source he was not able to explain.

The transactions showed he received Sh2.9 million from three colleagues who he alleged were his maize business associates while Sh1.5 million was deposited from M-Pesa agents.

The officers contradicted each other while appearing separately under a different panellists.

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Rucho said he ran a guinea fowl business together with his four colleagues based at the Eldoret driving test centre.

Ochieng who appeared after Rucho, however, stuck to the maize business. "We are in a partnership involving buying and selling maize through brokers. We contribute and purchase the maize based on market prices and then later share profits through M-Pesa," said Ochieng.

The panel wondered why the officers, who all worked in the same office in Eldoret, sent money to each other via M-Pesa.

Ochieng's M-Pesa statement showed deposits to his M-Pesa account amounted to Sh640,250 from M-Pesa agent "vsolution" in Eldoret.

He was also taken to task over Sh543,000 M-Pesa transfer between him and Katheka, who had been transferred to Nakuru where he was a chief inspector.

"Katheka is a friend and my neighbour in Nairobi. We often assist each other when in need of cash," Ochieng told the officers.

Katheka however denied he was in a business partnership with his colleagues. "I was not in partnership with Ochieng and the other officers. We used to buy the cereals separately," Katheka explained.

Further, he revealed they used a police vehicle to ferry maize from Kitale to Eldoret.

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