Cops extorted Sh300 million from recruits
- The Star
Police college bosses robbed recruits Sh300m allowances
Police chiefs say was spent on barrack maintenance, haircuts and a medical fund despite allocations from the ministry.
• Each recruit was robbed of Sh 31,384 meant for their allowances which is payable at the end of their training.
• The senior officers then directed the recruits to sign that they had received the full amounts allocated to them.
Top commanders of Kiganjo and Embakasi police schools illegally deducted Sh313 million from recruits according to a 2016-17 audit report from the office of the Auditor General.
The money, according to police chiefs was spent on barrack maintenance, haircuts and a medical fund despite allocations from the ministry on some of the votes.
The report by Auditor General Edward Ouko reveals that senior cops in charge of the Kenya Police College, Kiganjo, and Embakasi General Service Unit Training School forcefully deducted part of recruits allowances.
The senior officers then directed the recruits to sign that they had received the full amounts allocated to them.
“These deductions border on criminal acts on the part of those officers who sanctioned forceful recovery from helpless recruits,” says Ouko in his audit report on national government expenditures for the 2016-17 financial year.
The deductions have exposed the mess at the police colleges and raised questions whether recruits were being forced to pay for their own medical covers against standard procedures on insurance for trainee police officers.
“The department has not justified failure to provide funds for maintenance of barracks and medical funds in their annual budget,” Ouko says in the report.
When questioned by auditors why they were illegally deducting the recruits' allowances, police bosses could not give convincing answers.
GSU commanders claimed they had deposited Sh14.5 million of the deductions into an account held at Cooperative Bank which they said was meant for disbursing the allowances.
However, auditors say they were denied deposit slips and access to the bank account to verify if the money was actually deposited and termed information provided as "unsatisfactory."
A balance of about Sh300 million, most of which were associated with the Police Training College Kiganjo, could not be traced.
There were no records, according to the auditors, to show that recruits received any money from the said account held at Cooperative Bank, Tom Mboya branch.
“The promise to produce the bank statement and authority to open the account has not been acted upon,” Ouko says.
The Kenya Police Service had in May 2017 recruited some 10,000 recruits ahead of the August 8 General Elections.
This means that each of the recruits was illegally robbed of Sh31,384 meant for their allowances which is payable at the end of their training.
In the report, Ouko points out that the deductions were irregular and criminal as they contravened the Public Finance Management Act (2012) which prohibits re-allocation of funds from wages to non-wages expenditure.
Police bosses are also on the spot for failing to account for money received from various government agencies and private entities in connection with securing hiring services.
Revenue from security hire amounting to Sh190 million cannot be accounted for.
For instance, while the Regional Commander for Administration Police Service, Nairobi, appears to have collected revenue totalling Sh11.2 million during the year under review, the accuracy and completeness of this figure cannot be confirmed.
According to Ouko, there was no documentary evidence relating to revenue collected from Standard Chartered Bank - Harambee Avenue, Standard Chartered Bank - Kenyatta Avenue and Safaricom Offices at Sarit Centre, which armed Administration Police officers have been guarding.
Ouko raised the red flag on unprocedural decisions where Rapid Deployment Unit bosses are hiring out security officers at low rates against the regulations.
While a gazette notice issued in 2007 requires that charges for the hire of security for police officers ranked as constable is Sh100 per hour, the officer in charge of RDU charged a firm at the rate of Sh50 per hour, resulting in a loss of Shs876,000.
Further examination of the records by the auditors revealed that revenue totalling Sh6.1 million collected by the RDU was irregularly spent at source contrary to the law.
Administration Police subcounty commander for Ndhiwa spent Sh561,000, that of the neighbouring Mbita gobbled up Sh1.7 million while Homa Bay subcounty commander spent Sh1.1 million.
Siaya AP subcounty commander spent Sh1.5 million while that of Karachuonyo spent Sh368,000 at source.
The report reveals that Sh521.6 million shillings received in respect of work permits could not be accounted for because there were no miscellaneous receipts.
“In the circumstances, it is not possible to confirm that the amount of Sh521,660,000 was received, accounted for and deposited into the revenue account,” Ouko said.
(edited by O. Owino)