What you need to know:
- The police officer was exposed by after some of the drivers from whom he extorted money filed a complaint.
- The constable Mohamed had not touched his salary for three months between October and December 2014.
A police officer who has agreed to forfeit to the state Sh26 million he acquired through bribes had for six years moved cash into and out of four bank accounts and a mobile money wallet.
Besides moving the cash around to make it difficult to track his transactions, constable Jamal Bare Mohamed lied to the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) about the actual value of his assets during vetting.
But tables turned on him when some of the drivers from whom he extorted money filed a complaint.
An analysis of his bank accounts shows constable Mohamed, who has since cut a deal with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) after a four-year court battle, was depositing up to Sh2 million per week before he was arrested.
The money was mostly deposited on Mondays into his account number 1550161806043 at Equity Bank, Thika Supreme Branch either in cash or from his M-Pesa account.
From there the money would be shuffled around his three other accounts numbers 550161806043, 0140190638720 and 0190101390586.
The cover-up worked for a number of years, until word reached the EACC that the police officer had become a nuisance to public service vehicle operators plying the Thika-Garissa route.
Questions abound as to why the NPSC failed to raise the issue of the millions of shillings in constable Mohamed’s bank accounts during his vetting in 2015.
Curiously, during its pre-vetting background checks, the NPSC also failed to find out that the officer had a separate bank account under a similar name at Equity Bank’s Thika Supreme branch. The account back then transacted millions on a weekly basis.
Large sums of money
The officer’s wealth declaration form submitted to the vetting panel indicated he earned Sh729,120 as salary and Sh219,000 in allowances for two years before his arrest.
Additionally, he said he earned Sh4.3 million from his livestock business in Garissa and Sh120,000 from renting out a three-bedroomed house.
Interestingly, by the time of his vetting, constable Mohamed had not touched his salary, which was being credited into his bank account in Embu for three months – between October and December 2014.
In February and August of the same year, he is said to have withdrawn only Sh8,000 and Sh10,000 respectively. However, in 2014, the year he did not touch his salary for months, scrutiny of one of his accounts at Equity Bank in Thika showed that he deposited more than Sh10 million.
“According to the defendant’s declaration of income, assets and liabilities for the year 2015, he declared an income of only Sh5,428,120, which he said was his gross income from farming and rental income,” say court papers in a case that may be withdrawn following the forfeiture of cash by the police officer.
Also hidden from the vetting panel was a piece of land known as Thika Municipality Block 24/485 the officer had bought for Sh3.2 million, which he later told the EACC he had bought for Sh1.5 million.
“The defendant earned a gross salary of between Sh33,050 and Sh38,630 per month. This demonstrates a huge disparity between the defendant’s legitimate sources of income and the huge deposits he made into his account,” say court papers.
“The defendant has not been able to explain the discrepancy of Sh47,535,585.63 between the assets he acquired from July 2010 to September 30, 2016 and his known legitimate sources of income,” say court papers.
It is still unclear whether Equity Bank noticed the suspicious withdrawals or deposits involving large sums of money, sometimes exceeding Sh1 million, and whether the bank reported the transactions to the Financial Reporting Centre (FRC) as required by law.
Undeclared cash deposits
After the first National Youth Service (NYS) scandal, the Central Bank (CBK) issued a circular requiring all banks to report any cash withdrawals or deposits exceeding Sh1 million. Clients were also required to indicate the source and use of any cash exceeding Sh1 million that they would deposit or withdraw.
On December 17, 2013, for instance, records indicate the officer transferred Sh6 million between two accounts. Then on May 27, 2016, he withdrew Sh2.4 million in Mombasa and deposited Sh214,000 the next day through the Thika branch of the same bank.
Less than 24 hours later, he transferred Sh699,800 between two accounts. At this point he had Sh25,307,391 in this particular account. Also, in less than a week in September 2015, he deposited Sh696,000 in three tranches. On September 7, he deposited Sh223,000 then two days later made a deposit of Sh260,000, and a day later Sh113,300.
Interestingly, from December 2013 to November 2016, when constable Mohamed was arrested, the officer never withdrew a single coin from the Thika Supreme Branch of Equity Bank.
He made a total of 115 cash deposits ranging from Sh70,000 to Sh700,000 on a weekly basis. By the time the account was frozen, it had Sh28,668,037.20.
“The respondent herein has been making irregular, undeclared cash deposits into his bank accounts believed to be proceeds of corruption,” Mr Dennis Mare, a forensic investigator with the EACC told the court in a sworn affidavit.
Additionally, the officer deposited money into his bank accounts through his Mpesa and MKesho accounts on a regular basis, sometimes several times in a day. On December 15, 2013, for instance, the constable deposited a total of Sh136,000 into his M-Pesa account from Quid Connect along the Thika-Garissa highway.
The first deposit of Sh33,000, reference number EJ23VE997, was made at 7:46 am. This was followed, at intervals of about an hour, by deposits of Sh20,000, Sh20,000, Sh5,000, Sh8,000, Sh6,000, Sh15,000, Sh16,000 and Sh10,000 respectively.
Apart from Quid Connect, his preferred locations for making Mpesa deposits during the six-year period were Everton Hotel, Mid Oil Service Station and Webcam Technologies. In total, he made M-Pesa deposits worth Sh2,727,005 and Mkesho deposits amounting to Sh14,645,998.