Presidential escort
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Inside wealth of presidential escort officer linked to poaching

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Presidential escort motorcade outside Harambee House Annex.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A maisonette nearing completion and an apartment under construction in Syokimau are among properties owned by a Presidential Escort Unit officer arrested on claims of poaching. 

The officer, who was reportedly arrested in Kitengela with ivory worth Sh2.8 million, is said to have a lavish lifestyle including driving a luxury land rover that is the envy of his colleagues. 

Police say he was arrested alongside two colleagues and a businessman ferrying four elephant tusks at a petrol station in Kitengela on Sunday.

A plot in the area where the properties are located is said to fetch between Sh8 and Sh10 million, according to those familiar with land prices in the area. 

The construction of the two houses has gobbled up more millions. 

Informed sources say the officer has made a mark for himself among his colleagues at the Presidential Escort Unit headquarters at High Ridge in Nairobi.

His colleagues wondered how he financed his expensive lifestyle despite being on a salary of a constable.

Last Sunday, officers from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) were informed that four people were transporting ivory from Athi-River to an unknown destination in Kajiado county.

The KWS officers alongside officers from Kitengela Police station stormed the petrol station in Kitengela and arrested the occupants of the car.

According to a police report seen by Nation.Africa, five elephant tusks weighing approximately 28 kilograms of ivory with a street value of Sh2.8 million were found inside the car.

Two Ceska pistols with 30 bullets were also seized. The four suspects were taken to Kitengela police station. 

Upon identification, it emerged three were police officers including the one attached to the Presidential Escort Unit as a driver.

The other two are AP officers attached to the Security of Government Buildings (SGB) unit at Uhuru camp and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit (CIPU) headquarters in Athi River. 

The fourth suspect is a relative of a Mlolongo businessman who is suspected to have links to poaching and other illegal dealings. 

Nation.Africa has concealed their identities for legal reasons.

Investigators at Kitengela handed over the suspects and the exhibits to KWS officers from Langata who opened an investigation. 

The suspects, according to the police report, have been locked up at the Langata Police Station awaiting arraignment in court.

Sources familiar with the KWS investigation say the suspects are believed to be part of a network of criminals dealing with ivory within East Africa.

It has also emerged that during the investigations, the names of some high profile individuals within government including an MP have come up. 

An investigator familiar with the matter on Wednesday told Nation.Africa the probe has revealed numerous calls between the three police officers, the businessman and their associates.

These calls, the investigator said, are long and frequent.

The frequency of the calls had increased in the last two months. Some of the calls have been traced to neighboring countries such as Tanzania and DRC, further giving the investigators possible clues as to the extent of the criminal network.

At the KWS headquarters, investigators are conducting a forensic analysis to establish the origin of the seized ivory.

“We suspect that this consignment may have originated from DRC,” said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

National Police Service spokesperson Resila Onyango confirmed the arrest of the suspects but declined to comment further.

“We have them,” said Dr Onyango.

The arrests of the three police officers adds to the growing list of police officers linked to recent crime.

Last week, eight police officers were arrested after they were linked to various offences ranging from robbery with violence to extortion.

Four of the officers were being probed for the theft of Sh2.2 million stolen from an official of Rophine International School in Utawala.

The four officers- three attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) at Kasarani Police Station and one Ruai Police Station- were found together with a prime suspect in the robbery and in possession of Sh473,000 which they were unable to account for.