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Pain for police officers in housing crisis as power, water cut off 




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A national police housing crisis is looming as officers, who have been ordered to vacate government-funded houses but have refused to move, may now have to live without electricity and water unless they obey the presidential directive.

This follows the expiry of a February 1 deadline to vacate police quarters rented for them by the National Police Service (NPS).

Police officers in different parts of the country are currently living in darkness after the NPS stopped paying for their electricity from this month.

On Wednesday, police officers living at the Central Police Station in Nairobi were issued with a notice to vacate their houses by February 20.

The terse notice, signed by Mr Simon Kerich, the OCS, stated that the officers must comply with the given date as “there will be no reminder over the same”.

NPS was to give all officers “reasonable” allowances to enable them secure decent and affordable accommodation in their areas of operation.

However, most of the officers still living in police lines have cited severe housing shortage in some parts of the country, and their inability to service the high rents charged by landlords.

Their situation was worsened after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) slashed allowances by close to half.

Following the SRC review, a sergeant in Nairobi gets Sh9,800 house allowance and Sh4,000 commuter allowance.

Sergeants in Mombasa, Kisumu, Nyeri, Eldoret, Kisii, Kitale, Kakamega and Malindi get Sh7,300 house allowance. Those in other regions will get Sh5,500. Most of the officers who spoke to the Nation vowed to stay put in their current residences due to lack of affordable alternative shelter.

In Nyeri Town, one-bedroom houses are going for between Sh7,000 and Sh15,000 based on location and size.

Going by allowances offered, the officers will have to live in single rooms or bedsitters whose monthly rent ranges from Sh4,000 to Sh6,500.

“Once subjected to tax, the so-called house allowance is not even enough to get me decent housing. I will have to live in a single room or bedsitter with my entire family,” an officer who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Nation.

In Othaya, Kieni and Mukurweini, police officers said they cannot find rental houses at all.

“The sheds we live in are no different from the houses out there, so it makes no difference to leave,” an officer at Mweiga Police Station said.

In Embu Town, the cheapest self-contained one bed-roomed house goes for between Sh8,000 and Sh12,000.

Police officers in Murang’a County also face similar challenges where a decent one-bedroom house goes for as much as Sh10,000.

In Kakamega Town, the 155 officers who have opted to pay rent complained that their plans to find affordable accommodation had been jolted by shortage of houses. They said that landlords in Kakamega have taken advantage of the situation to increase rent from Sh10,000 to Sh15,000 for a two-bedroom house.

The deadline to vacate has put hundreds of police officers at risk of going without water and electricity after NPS stopped paying for them.

Designs for police lines usually group all the houses under a single account and meter for both water and power, whose bills are paid by respective divisional headquarters. Since NPS is no longer budgeting for police line bills, it means Kenya Power and water companies will inevitably cut supply to the quarters.

In Nyeri Town, Kenya Power cut off supply to the police lines more than a week ago and Nyeri Water and Sewerage Company (Nyewasco) is considering similar action. Per the new housing plan, police officers must now cater for their water and electricity bills.

The notice to vacate the police lines was issued in December last year after the officers received their first house allowance.

“We are willing to pay own bills but the problem is that they have not separated the meters and now the main supply has been cut off. We cannot find alternative houses out there. Where are we supposed to live when the same thing happens with water?” an officer attached to the station posed.

Nyewasco managing director Peter Gichaaga said that NPS has already notified the company that it will stop payments under the police lines account.


The company is expected to terminate supply to other stations including the residential quarters at the National Police Service College Main Campus in Kiganjo.

According to the Nyewasco MD, Nyeri Central Police Station requires at least Sh1 million for metering while the Kenya Police College, Kiganjo will require at about Sh4 million.

Kenya Power is reportedly also offering a similar deal but it remains unclear who will foot the bill. In Kakamega, a contractor is asking for Sh4.2 million to carry out repairs, including wiring and installation of Kenya Power meters in police houses.

The quotation for the job has left police officers in shock. The officers have now resorted to buying solar panels as an alternative power supply to their homes.

Western region police boss, Mr Leonard Omolo, said he met the contractor who gave him the quotation.

“The amount is perplexing. We have asked the officers to approach individual electricians registered and certified by Kenya Power to do the job at an affordable cost to enable them restore power to the houses,” said Mr Omolo.

The officers will be required to pay an additional Sh2,000 to have water restored to the houses. Officers in Mombasa and Kwale, who spoke to the Nation, revealed that rumours of looming transfers have halted their plans to move from their quarters.

This is despite the disconnection of power and water supply in a move to ensure they vacate.

“Those who have moved from the camps are officers who are new in the service. Some of them do not even have families, but a majority of us with families have stayed put despite the disconnections which were done last week,” said a police officer from Kwale.

Another police officer in Mombasa said they are yet to move from the police lines as houses they intend to vacate to are under renovations.

In Kilifi, Malindi OCPD Matawa Muchangi, said police officers are still taking their time to seek rental houses.

“Some of them have already moved out but others are still searching for affordable rental houses,” he said adding, “Most of them suggest they need to live close to each other for security and emergency purposes.”

Officers attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) have relocated to new rental homes in Malindi Town.

Magarini OCPD Gerald Barasa said the officers have already adjusted to ‘outside life’. In Taita Taveta, acting county police commander Joseph Chesire said all officers who want to remain in quarters will have to pay their own bills. 

An officer at Voi police station said that they have been in darkness since electricity was cut off. He said they were told to pay Sh700,000 by Kenya Power to get electricity connection back.

In the North Rift, many officers who spoke to the Nation expressed disappointment that their allowances have been slashed.

Those in Eldoret claimed that they only received Sh7,500 as house allowance compared to the Sh13,000 announced earlier.

“We’ve not been given any explanation for this reduction. We were just given a circular. We can even end up getting less as they have added a lot of levies including an increase in NHIF,” said a disgruntled officer.

Graduate officers have also complained that they were not considered for a house allowance increase despite earlier promises.

“We are being told to look for decent houses near our work stations. Getting such houses is not easy as they are expensive,” said an officer.

The situation is no different in West Pokot county with officers lamenting that the house allowance given is very little.

In Trans Nzoia County, the worst hit are officers with large families. “This programme was rushed. We could have just stuck with the old system as we implement the new one gradually. Every region has different housing standards and some are not safe for officers,” said an officer.

But the county police commandant Yusuf Gitonga called on the officers to embrace the new system.

Reports by Nicholas Komu, Benson Amadala, Ahmed Mohamed, Charles Lwanga, Lucy Mkanyika, Wycliffe Kipsang, Oscar Kakai and Gerald Bwisa



Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’




Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –




Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard




Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

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