Storm in Police Service as NPSC takes on IG Koome over promotions

Japhet Koome

Inspector General of Police Japhet Koome.

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

The recent promotion of over 500 police officers by the Inspector General of Police has exposed the supremacy battles in apex of the National Police Service Commission (NPSC).

So serious is the matter that the NPSC declared all the promotions announced by the IG Japhet Koome as null and void.

The Commission’s CEO, Peter Leley said the promotions are contrary to Article 246 of the Constitution, the National Police Service Commission Promotion Regulations, 2015, Chapter 34 of the National Police Service Standing Orders, 2017 and the National Police Service Career Guidelines.

He further said the promotions were unlawful and unprocedural as the IG had no authority in law.

“The Commission cannot ascertain the merits of the said promotions as there are no related vacancies declared nor approved by the Commission. They were covertly undertaken as there is no single advertisement on the same,”

Not in line with Constitution

The statement added that the IG’s actions were not in line with the constitution since there had been no determination by the Commission on the purported promotions and that the promotions in the National Police Service must be based on merit,ewual and fair opportunity to all members of the Service.

The promotions must also shall be equitable and have considertaions on gender and regional balance and must meet requirements of ethics and integrity, the statement added.

“Based on the aforementioned irregularities, the Commission hereby issues the directives that all purported promotions as conferred on June 5, 2023 to select Members of the National Police Service are declared irregular and unprocedural,”

The NPSC also directed that any officer using such rank as irregularly conferred is warned that any benefits so obtained shall attract personal liability and directed the Principal Adminsitrative Secretary of the National Police Service to refrain from implementing any promotions or related payroll decisions based on actions not determined by the Commission.

The Commission also cautioned that it shall hold personally liable any member of the service who implements such directive on promotions without a written determination of the Commission.

“The Inspector General should recall his illegal actions as they totally flout various constitutional principles and is failure to uphold the rule of law by a State Officer,” the NPSC CEO said.

The Commission also informed police officers that it is committed to ensure fairness and equal opportunity in administrative actions and is working to clear the “anxiety and confusion” caused by the “unprocedural and unlawful” actions.

This statement came several hours after a battery of journalists that had had turned up for a press briefing were kept waiting at the PrideInn Paradise beach resort for four hours as 

Mr Kinuthia, the NPSC Chairperson held a closed-door meeting with his team. The press briefing was cancelled a few moments after the NPSC boss left the conference hall to address the journalists when he received a call.

While appearing before the National Assembly Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee(CIOC) on May 30, the Commission said they were faced by several challenges in executing their mandate including the IG’s reluctance to implement their decisions.

They also said the ministry has been usurping its constitutional mandate without consultation and maintained that IG Koome is surbodinate to NPSC and should comply with the legal policy and institutional framework guiding the Police Services human resource functions.

“The Inspector General of Police has severally cited Article 245(4) of the Constitution as the reason for not implementing decisions of the commission on recruitment, appointments, confirmation in appointments, dismissal, transfers and promotions,” the commission told the House team.

According to NPSC, the ‘commission’ referred to in Article 246(1) whose functions are stipulated in 246(3)(a) is not a person but a civilian authority to which National Police Service is subordinate.

The current tiff between the Commission and IG Koome comes a day after the former sent signals to all regional police bosses announcing the promotion of hundreds of police officers.

The Commission also warned that promotions done by the IG, if implemented without its determination and approval are unethical, illegitimate and vulnerable to litigations and subject to financial management discrepancies in audit queries, employees’ pension and psychosocial well-being of the police officers.

“Any interference with the payroll management and administration without commission approval is contrary to Leadership and Integrity Act 2012 and Article 10, 232 of the CoK on values and principles of good governance of public service.”

IG Koome and the Police Spokesperson, Dr Resilla Onyango, did not give a comment on the current situation when contacted by the Nation over the same.

However, Mr Koome has been on record saying the constitution is clear on matters such as promotions of police officers and quoted article 245(4)(c) of the constitution that expects the IG to exercise independent command over the Service.

In January, while giving the NPS’s submissions to the task force on police and prisons reforms chaired by former Chief Justice David Maraga, the police made a controversial proposal to have the Inspector General of Police designated as the Chairperson of the National Police Service Commission (NPSC).

They made this proposal on claims that the move will ensure the independence of the NPS and guarantee smooth and seamless administration of the service on human resource matters

They said the change should be done through amending the National Police Service Commission Act to provide a new subsection designating the IG, a member of the commission as the automatic Chairperson like other constitutional commissions in the country which are chaired by the heads of their respective entities.

​Additional reporting by Winnie Atieno