28 police officers sent home in weighbridge bribery purge
What you need to know:
- EACC used private investigators to unravel racket.
- They are said to be getting an average Sh600,000 a month at the stations.
The National Police Service has interdicted 28 officers linked to corruption at weighbridges pending investigations into their conduct.
The officers are alleged to have been receiving money from motorists in cash and through mobile money transfers.
A document seen by the Sunday Nation shows that the four corporals, a senior superintendent of police, two chief inspectors and 21 constables received up to Sh600,000 a month through mobile money transfers.
The Senior Superintendent of Police who was based at the Mariakani weighbridge received bribes amounting to Sh440,000 on average that were deposited in his M-Pesa account. His case has been forwarded to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission for investigation.
A police constable based at the Mlolongo weighbridge received Sh600,000 on average through his M-Pesa account. His case is also being investigated by EACC.
The dossier indicates that chief inspectors of police who served as the officers in charge of the Mariakani and Mlolongo police stations received in their M-Pesa accounts, money amounting to Sh225,000 and Sh276,120 on average every month.
Of the 28 officers, 10 served at the Mariakani weighbridge while the rest were based at the Mlolongo weighbridge.
FORCED TO RETREAT
Three of the officers who were based at the Mariakani weighbridge were arraigned at the Mombasa law courts. Two of them are also charged with obstructing justice. Their case is pending.
They allegedly shot at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission detectives in August last year when they tried to arrest them following reports that they were taking bribes.
During the incident two officers were arrested, but the other two are alleged to have fired at the detectives, forcing them to retreat.
Although nobody was injured during the incident, EACC lodged a complaint with the Independent Policing Oversight Authority and the then Inspector-General of Police.
The interdiction of the police officers followed an undercover investigation by detectives from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission with the help of the private security firm, Societe Generale de Surveillance, SGS.
The EACC estimates that an average of 100 trucks pass through each of the weighbridges without being checked at all by simply parting with between Sh1,000 and Sh3,500.
The EACC report on the investigation indicates that officers attached to weighbridges collect at least Sh300,000 a day from the five weighbridges on the Northern Corridor.
Vehicles passing through the weighbridges are supposed to be checked for overloading and flouting the axle load rules stipulated by the Kenya National Highway Authority under the Kenya Roads Act, 2007.
Despite SGS’s installing innovative technologies at the weighbridges including automated number plate recognition cameras and other surveillance equipment, transporters flout the rules with the help of corrupt officers.
Statistics from the Japan International Co-operation Agency show that the East African region spends more than Sh2.16 billion on road maintenance a year; much of the damage caused by overloaded trucks.