Fear grips traffic police officers as Kenya sacks 302 police officers from police service for refusing to submit their M-Pesa and bank details to the National Police Commission to facilitate their vetting.
National police service commission announced Thursday 302 police officers were dismissed for not accepting reforms by declining to be vetted or appraised as part of reforms of the police force.
NPSC Chairman Johnston Kavuludi said even though the officers were given time to submit their documents they failed to do so.
Police chief Joseph Boinnet who is also a member of the commission will hand over the officers’ dismissal letters to them, the National Police Service Commission said Thursday.
Read Also: Video: Truck Driver Beats A Traffic Police Officer With No Mercy
Mr Kavuludi, speaking on the sixth day of exercise at the Kenya School of Government in Mombasa on Monday, said:
“The commission has no alternative but to automatically remove the officers from the service for failing to submit those documents, which was a mandatory requirement for their vetting,”
Police are undergoing reforms to restore public confidence in a system continuously implicated in endemic corruption and human rights abuses. The decision to dismiss the officers was reached at a board meeting held at the commission’s offices on Tuesday, commission Chairman Johnston Kavuludi said.
The vetting is a public process, done before the full glare of the cameras, and officers have their finances scrutinized and any conflicts of interest probed. The exercise has revealed surprising details of an intricate web of suspicious MPesa transactions involving junior and senior police officers.
In May, when the panel was in Mombasa, one senior traffic officer couldn’t give reasonable account of at least $500,000 (£345,000) which had passed through a mobile money transfer service and his bank account. Kenyans on social media were angered – and gave details of how they are often made to pay a bribe after they were caught for traffic offences.
The on-going vetting targets corrupt police and others with questionable integrity and it is part of a reform package the government started, after embracing a new constitution in 2010 that ended post-election violence following a marred election poll in December 2007.
At least 1,000 people were killed in the post-election violence. The police were accused of supporting one side against another during the crisis. But so far, at least 3,000 officers have been appraised with close to 100 fired for being involved in suspicious transactions.
Global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International recently named the police force the most corrupt institution in Kenya. Government spokesman, Eric Kiraithe, said while serving as a police spokesman in the past that corruption in the police force is deep rooted and massive.
The evaluation of 80,000 officers began in December 2013. The action has been castigated for undermining the human rights records of senior police officers who have been accused of sanctioning and participating in extra-judicial killings of suspects.
A U.N. expert on extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary killings said Kenyan police give orders to themselves and carry out thoroughly planned systematic and vast killings of individuals.
An investigation by The Associated Press last year also said many ordinary officers on duty who by reason of office have ordinary power to execute laws have turned into killers — dishing out death to terror suspects, civilians and even children.
The vetting panel has faced a number of death threats. In one case a severed head was sent to their office with a note warning them to tread carefully.