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Police reforms: Sense of superiority, betrayal and infighting likely to cripple reforms

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The ongoing reorganisation of the National Police is causing anxiety within the Administration Police Wing, the Kenya Police and DCI.

The government embarked on implementing radical changes in the NPS mainly to increase NPS’s effectiveness and efficiency in delivering services by closing the gap between the twin services of APS and the KPS, and to demystify perceptions of brutality and abuse of human rights.

President Uhuru Kenyatta while unveiling the reforms said Kenyans want to be policed by men and women who are fair and ready to help and make a stand against corruption and abuse of office rather than hinder economic and business activity.

“The changes will clarify and simplify command and control to increase accountability and performance,” he said.

The comprehensive changes are meant to deepen the transformation of the police and overall national security but they have rattled many officers and there already casualties occasioned by the restructuring of the command structure.

The reforms have seen the abolition of the APS Regional Commander, KPS Regional Commander, DCI Regional Commander, County Coordinating Commander, KPS County Commander, APS County Commander and DCI County Commander.

Some senior officers have lost lucrative duties and others, prestigious offices and powers.

There has been a parallel command in APS and KPS as well as DCI. But the changes are setting one command which eliminates the two lines in command of APS and KPS, and officers in both services are placed under one command in each jurisdiction.

This means that some officers have to lose their positions.

More than 24, 572 APS officers will join the KPS’s 39, 680 in the general duties that were previously a reserve of the KPS only, to raise the number of cops in GD to 64, 252. And as a result, the officers in GD will focus on public safety and security.

The APS will be left with slightly over 7,000 officers who will be tasked with border control and security, as well as combating cattle rustling and banditry.

The reduction of the APS numbers means that the deputy IG in charge of the service will be in command of a lesser number of officers and hence considered less powerful as compared to their KPS counterpart and this has not gone well with APS seniors.

The Current DIG in charge of APS Noor Gabow will be left in charge of the formed up units of the APS comprising the 7,000 officers mainly drawn from the elite Border Patrol, the Security of Government, Rapid Deployment Units, and the Quick Response Team.

The NPS is in the process of setting up a police special unit for protection of national infrastructure and critical installations with about 8,000 officers and the Anti Stock Theft Unit will be retained.

But it is not clear who will be in charge of the two although being formed up units, it is presumed they will be placed under APS.

The true picture

However, there lies a sense of superiority, betrayal, disloyalty and infighting within the service.

Tension has been brewing within the entire police service after the President made the announcement.

The hardest part of the reforms is to instil a common understanding of police-station work and to build a feeling of pride and mutual loyalty that will be symbolized by a joint pass-out parade.

For instance, IG Joseph Boinnet and DCI chief George Kinoti are still battling over the reforms going to strip detectives of their rank and require them to report to uniformed officers.

The most contested is the plan for DCI chiefs of all ranks to report to new commanders, the uniformed police, whom many consider inferior.

Kinoti is pushing for a review of the ranking system to enable DCI chiefs, especially at top levels, to maintain the ranks of AIG.

In the proposed changes, the regional police commander would be elevated to AIG.

The DCI commander operating under the regional police commander would hold a lower rank, possibly commissioner of police.

This means, for instance, that a regional police commander in Nairobi will hold the rank of AIG, while the DCI chief in the same area will be a mere commissioner of police.

A senior officer at the Embakasi Training College said it is going to be difficult for senior officers under the APS to accept to serve under KPS command where they are deemed juniors in command structure.

“Sisi hatukatai reforms lakini shida yetu ni kwamba tunaona kama IG anapendelea wale wa upande mwingine kuliko sisi. Hii ni kitu iko wazi hata ukiangalia hii uniform mpya hakuna mtu wa AP alihusishwa sisi tuliambiwa tu kuna uniform inakuja kidogokidogo tukaona IG ameivaa,” the officer said.

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This is loosely translated to “….we are not against reforms but our problem is that the IG seems to be favouring one side. This is very obvious because if you look at the new uniforms for example, none of us in the AP was consulted, we were just informed of the new uniform then suddenly we show the IG already in one.” 

This he said has not gone down well with the officers within the AP command because they think the IG, who is supposed to act as a unifying factor, is sacrificing them at the expense of KPS.

“It is common knowledge that Kenya Police is more vulnerable and corrupt but because most Kenyans do not understand the difference between Kenya Police and AP, they just generalise that all police are corrupt. This is why we feel that the IG is seeking to soil the good reputation of AP with this merger,” he added.

This is so evident in that in mid-January, while meeting security chiefs at the Coast, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i urged the new commanders to work hard to address the discord that has existed within the service for decades.

“We have no option but to work together. Let us stop this silo mentality and collectively address the discord to intensify the mode of service delivery,” he said.

Matiang’i said that is the only way to put an end to blame games that have manifested in the past.

A junior officer at a chief’s camp in Nairobi said AP officers are the most disciplined within the police service and despite that they have given their lives for the sake of the country compared to their Kenya Police counterparts.

Poor Pay

Kenyan policemen are poorly paid and have to make use with archaic housing that has not been expanded or renovated since the 1970s.

This has made them very susceptible to corruption and crime.

Extortion and bribery are not unknown practices and the Kenyan people rank the police among the most corrupt bodies in the country.

In July 2010 the late Prof. George Saitoti, then Interior CS announced a 28% pay increase for junior officers and a 25% pay increase for senior officers.

This meant that a junior officer, a Police Constable, could receive Sh21, 000 month including allowances.

But currently, new recruits are said to earn Sh19, 120 with an annual increment of Sh500.

A constable in Mandera said new recruits earn Sh19,120 with an annual increment of Sh500.

He said married officers manning the border get a hardship allowance of Sh2,300 a month which translates to about Sh76 in a day compared to those not married who earn Sh1,800 which is an equivalent of Sh60 in a day.

“We have been getting a gross salary of about Sh35,000 plus the new house allowance of Sh5,500 makes it Sh40,500. After some deductions you find that we have gone back to where we were,” the officer said.

The officers had initially been promised house allowances of Sh8,500 with a commuter allowance of Sh3,000 making it Sh11,500 but they have only been receiving a house allowance of Sh5,500 and commuter allowance of Sh3,000 making it Sh8,500.

“In short what we are likely going to experience is a worse situation than we have been in. They add small allowances but large deductions subjecting us to the same conditions,” he noted.

The national Police Service Commission will however have to be involved in terms of revising the salary for the officers.

Head of corporate affairs Patrick Odongo said some areas will have to be put on hold until another commission is constituted.

“We know we cannot be talking of reforms without serious consideration of welfare. If we can put the officers under good house allowance, commuter allowance, give them a good health cover and insure them then we shall be moving on the right track on the reforms,” he said.

Dismiss

Director of reforms Jasper Ombati told the Star that there should be no cause for alarm over the process.

He said the reforms are being strategically implemented to ensure a smooth integration of the two services.

“People will always express different perceptions when there is change. But all we are looking at is adaptation of new and modern technology to enhance our service delivery,” Ombati said.

“We know the welfare of the officers is critical and salary is the key motivator. We know we are not paying enough but that is not the key issue for now. We are looking at other aspects to be taken to account in the reforms,” he added.

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Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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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 –

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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.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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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.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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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.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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