It was only 10 days ago that the Kenya Forum highlighted the results of the National Ethics and Corruption Survey, 2021, a report published by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) which found that the Kenya Police Service is regarded by the public as by far and away the most corrupt government agency. [See Most Corrupt Counties and Ministries – EACC Survey, January 3, 2023].
The level of distrust in the police felt by Kenyans as shown by the survey was not a marginal matter. 82.1 percent of those questioned named the police as the most corrupt government agency compared to 25.2 percent who cited the ‘Registration of Persons’, the next on the list of same.
Every Kenyan, or indeed anyone living in Kenya for any length of time, every matatu or bus driver, lorry driver or private individual going about their daily business, has been pulled up on the side of the road, at a road block, or just trying to enter an airport on some pretext that is in reality just a police officer trying to elicit “kito iadogo” – “something small”, that is, a bribe.
So, if everyone knows about the endemic corruption in the police service, and they do, why does it seem so few officers are ever held to account? And what is being done to root out police corruption?
The results of the following investigations recently reported by the EACC in the The Kenya Gazette may be instructive.
Allegations of Bribery against Traffic Officers Attached to Pangani Police Station
The EACC investigated a report that Traffic Police Officers manning Muthaiga Area along Thika Road were collecting bribes from motorists.
A surveillance was conducted along the road and a civilian was spotted moving from one PSV vehicle to another collecting bribes on behalf of the Traffic Police Officers.
The Commission conducted an operation in the area and arrested two Police Officers, and also a civilian BUT he later escaped in the process. (Don’t you just hate it when that happens?).
Perhaps not surprisingly ‘further, investigations’ found no evidence to support the allegation of bribery against the to police officers concerned.
On 21st July, 2022, a report was compiled and forwarded to the DPP with recommendations for closure of the inquiry for lack of evidence to sustain bribery charges.
Inquiry into Allegations Corruption against Traffic Police Officers Attached to Lari Police Station
The EACC commenced investigations following ‘numerous complaints’ received that Traffic Officers in the Central and Rift Valley region were engaging in corrupt practices along the roads.
The Commission conducted an operation along the Nairobi-Mai-Mahiu Highway and arrested three Police Officers from Lan Police Station who were manning the Nairobi-Mai- Mahiu Highway. BUT investigations established that there was no sufficient evidence linking the three Officers with bribery offences.
On 21st July, 2022, a report was compiled and forwarded to the DPP with recommendation for closure of the inquiry file for lack of evidence to sustain a charge of bribery.
On 26th August, 2022, the DPP returned the inquiry file and concurred with the Commission’s recommendation for closure of the file.
Inquiry into Allegations of Bribery Against a Police Officer Based at the Kalamba Police Post in Makueni County
The EACC commenced investigations upon receipt of a report that a Police Officer based at Kalamba Police Post in Makueni County requested for financial advantage of KSh.3,000/- as an inducement to release his motorbike which was detained at the Police Post.
Success! Investigations conducted by the Commission established that the suspect had indeed requested for and received a bribe of KSh.3,000/-
On 21st July, 2022, a report was compiled and forwarded to the DPP with recommendations that the suspect be charged with three counts of receiving a bribe contrary to section 6(1) (a) read with section 18 of the Bribery Act No. 47 of 2016.
So that’s it. All those investigations and one policeman might be charged for eliciting a bribe of Ksh.3,000/-.
“Plus ca change, plus c’est meme choose” as I believe they say in France (“The more things change, the more they stay the same”).