The Kenya police service has for a long time maintained its record as the most corrupt public institution in the country and has topped bribery rankings since the inception of the East African Bribery Index in 2009.
The traffic police department is touted to be the most corrupt a fact confirmed by Deputy Inspector General of police Joel Kitili during the second inspector general conference at the Safari Park Hotel in December 2016.
“Traffic department and station commanders are the most corrupt in the police service,” he said, adding that corruption cases against police officers were taking too long to be concluded, hindering the fight against the vice.
We all witness corruption abated by traffic police on our roads on a day to day basis; if they are not collecting some Sh 200 or more from matatus they are harassing a private car motorist not with the intention of having them punished for a traffic offence, but to solicit a bribe.
An article on today’s Daily Nation reveals how traffic police officers are at the center of city cartels that rake in billions from PSV owners.
According to the article, traffic police collect sh24 million a day (Sh 7.2b/ year) from the 120, 000 matatus in the city by collecting at least Sh 200 from each vehicle every day. Read more….
It therefore wasn’t shocking during the just concluded traffic police vetting to see officers unable to account for the millions of shillings they had transacted on their Mpesa and bank accounts only that Kenyans were amazed by the magnitude of the loot.
The Kenya National Police Service Commission afew weeks ago sacked 127 traffic police officers after they failed a suitability test in the vetting exercise. The officers were part of 904 traffic officers who were vetted in May 2016 in Coast, Western, Rift Valley and Nyanza regions before the commission.
According to commission’s chairman Johnson Kavuludi, the officers were sacked for unexplained financial transactions, sending and receiving money from fellow officers in the traffic department, operating matatu business, receiving money from transporters and operators of breakdown services and professional misconduct.
“The fact that 127 officers out of the 904 so far vetted have been removed is a clear demonstration of the endemic vice of corruption in the traffic department,” said Kavuludi.
In a further effort to curb the massive corruption in the department, traffic operations have also been decentralized and devolve for easy supervision.
A special unit, which will be based at vigilance house, was also formed two months ago to deal with corrupt police officers. The unit is made up of 300 officers drawn from the general service unit and the directorate of criminal investigations.