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Cases of fraud emerge at vetting of police by Kavuludi commission

RIFT VALLEY
By Silah Koskei | March 20th 2015
Yatta OCPD Edward Kipsang told Kavuludi-led panel his boss had used his juniors to fix him eight years ago.

ELDORET: Cases of embezzlement of government funds and double payment of officers seconded to public institutions took centre stage during the vetting of top police officers by the National Police Service Commission exercise that came to a close Thursday.

Uasin Gishu Administration Police Commandant Augustus Mutia, who appeared before the Johnston Kavuludi led panel, was at pains to account for Sh7 million deposited in his account through cheques, which were withdrawn immediately after deposit.

He failed to convince the panel over millions of shillings he withdrew and deposited to his personal account, which he had previously claimed were acquired through his wife’s business.

Mr Mutia was appearing for the second time during Thursday’s vetting and was hard pressed to provide clear information on how he acquired his wealth.

He instead told the vetting team that while based in Karachuonyo as the Deputy Administration Police Commander in 2011, during the defunct District Commissioner’s tenure, he was tasked with depositing funds to his account and later withdrawing the sum to pay officers safeguarding an irrigation scheme in the region.

“The officers were providing security services and were being paid Sh700 each as allowances because they were working at night and day, I was just their custodian and there is no way I embezzled their money,” he told the commission.

He was also hard pressed to prove if the said officers signed for the allowances paid to them.

Mutia noted that the payments by major government institutions, like the irrigation scheme in Karachuonyo was done with the knowledge of the Administration Police headquarters.

Kavuludi sought to find out how six officers seconded to University of Eldoret in 2014 were getting double pay against the rules of the service.

 DOUBLE PAYMENTS

As per the documents produced before the team, Kavuludi said one officer was earning Sh80,593 per month from the university and additional Sh23,310 as normal monthly pay from the Government.

“You are in charge of the deployment of officers to various institutions, and there is a difference between deployment and secondment. Did you brief the headquarters on the said officers so that their salaries can be relinquished?” questioned Kavuludi.

On his defence, Mutia said he was not aware the six officers attached to the university were earning double pay, adding that the request for the officers to provide security at the institution was made by the University administration.

“I was not of knowledge that they were being paid salaries. All I know is that because they were safeguarding a government institution, the least they could get were allowances,” he said.

Mutia also distanced himself from the alleged deployment of officers to protect a private petrol station in Eldoret town, saying he was not aware of the matter.

“Upon inquiring about the matter, I learnt that the reason the officers were at the petrol station is because of rampant cases of robbery with violence. This led the district security committee and the business fraternity to request for officers to beef up security through patrols,” he said.

The commission was taken aback when Mutia was requested to provide a letter drafted by the officer in-charge of the group providing service to the petrol station.

“As per the letter, it is addressed to the commission and it has your signature, meaning it is you who wrote and not the officer you mentioned,” Kavuludi told Mutia.

Turkana Administration Police County Commander John Kemboi Maiyo was also vetted about issues of insecurity in Kapedo.

The officer, however, told the commission that calm had returned in the bandit-prone area since President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered for deployment of additional security to protect the lives of locals.

Mr Maiyo said despite the harsh conditions, the officers stationed in Turkana ought to be provided with armoured vehicles and sophisticated weapons to combat cases of banditry in the region.

Similarly, the panel had to proceed in camera with the vetting of Lang'ata OCPD Elijah Maina Mwangi, after he was put to task to explain the circumstances under which police allegedly tear-gassed pupils during a demonstration against Lang'ata Primary School's grabbed land.

Mr Mwangi, who was previously Marakwet East police boss, requested for the session to proceed ‘in camera’ since it touched on a sensitive matter.

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