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OCPD probed over extra-judicial killings

09 March 2015, 13:02 Robert Chepkwony

Nakuru - A senior police officer was put on the spot over a series of extra-judicial killings that occurred in Nakuru County during his tenure.

Bernard Kioko Muinde, who is currently serving as Nakuru OCPD, was hard pressed to explain to the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) vetting panel sitting at the Nakuru’s Section 58 Dog Police Unit, why a special unit of detectives he had assembled to tackle spiraling crime in the County had resorted to executing suspected robbers instead of arresting them.

The commission, headed by Johnston Kavuludi, has been in the Rift Valley region headquarters for the past one week to vet some 120 officers of the ranks of senior superintendent and superintendent of police.

Kioko, who was not allowed to state the number of suspected robbers that the unit executed, said they had identified about 20 gangs that were terrorizing residents in the region and kept a catalogue that the unit used in identifying them.

"We had their pictures taken by our undercover officers who were part of the gang and we used the pictures to identify them," said the officer.

Read Also: Police reforms have flopped, says ICJ Kenya

Kioko said they had no choice but to shoot and kill the robbers who were armed and refused to surrender.

Lawyer David Mongere, who represented the Law Society of Kenya in the panel, put Kioko to task over the killings saying the unit was responsible for extra judicial killings that characterized the region in close to one year in 2011.

"I put it to you that you had policy of shoot to kill which was implemented for quite some time during your tenure as OCPD, " said the lawyer.

Kioko said he managed to reduce crime in the area that had gone out of hand when he took over and that the robbers were killed when they challenged police officers.

The officer was further grilled over the suspension of four CID officers who allegedly stole KES 400 000 from a Nakuru businesswoman without carrying out thorough investigations.

He said he was acting under the instruction of the CID commandant who called and directed the immediate suspension of the officers pending investigations.

The High Court in Nakuru overturned the decision saying that Kioko had no powers to suspend officers.

Kavuludi took issues with Kioko for opening a chapel at Central Police Station in Nakuru and forcing those coming to seek assistance from the police to attend a church service.

"I have no issue with your faith but you need not to herd people to attend your church because people are from different religious backgrounds," said Kavuludi.

Kioko however defended the establishment of the chapel saying it helped in the fight against corruption.

The officer was stood down pending further inquiries into other serious allegations touching on his integrity and would be summoned again for further vetting.

Meanwhile, a senior officer was interdicted for eight years for alleged forgery and theft of KES 250 000 that was meant for renovation of Gigiri Police Station, National Police Service Commission vetting panel was told.

Senior Superintendent Isaac Kigode who was reinstated to the force after a court acquitted him of the charges said someone senior in the service engineered his arrest, interdiction and prosecution for reasons he could not understand.

“Somebody senior in the police service engineered the whole saga because I was never given an opportunity to defend myself before I was dragged to court and charged with the offence,” Kigode told the commission sitting at the Section 58 Dog Unit in Nakuru County for the vetting of senior officers from the Rift Valley region.

Kigode, who was the then Gigiri OCPD, said he was innocent and the court vindicated him adding that he did not hold any grudges and that he already forgave those who accused him falsely.

Read Also: Wealthy policeman fails explain source of riches

Asked what lessons he had learnt from the incident, Kigode who is now serving in Laikipia County as the Officer Commanding of the local police division said he learnt the need to ensure any official matter is handled with care using proper authorization and supporting documents.

“The incident taught me to always ensure all official business must be in writing and never again issue verbal instructions to my  juniors,” he said.

The officer, whose net worth is estimated to be KES 19.5 million said he was paid KES 1.4 million soon after he was reinstated last year which he transferred to his wife’s bank account.

Asked to explain the huge amounts of mony deposited in his wife’s bank account on December 17 and 18 last year, Kegode said that KES 1 million was meant for a construction project they were carrying out in Ngong.

“We are constructing a house in Ngong. My wife took a loan of KES 500 000 and KES 300 000 was a refund from a motor vehicle dealer who failed to deliver a car we I had paid for,” he said.

However, the officer said he had not undergone any refresher courses after he was reinstated to the force.

Kavuludi and commissioner Mary Owour noted that there was need for all senior officers who had served for decades in the force to undergo a refresher course so as to understand the new changes being rolled out.

“Some of the officers have been in the force for a long time and are unable to cope with the new changes currently being undertaken. They need to be retrained,” he said.

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