Irene Githinji @gitshee
An audit of the police salaries pegged on acquisition of university degrees has reportedly revealed massive fraud and bribery that could see some of the officers investigated and prosecuted.
It has emerged that a committee, led by National Police Service Commission (NPSC) human Resource director Christine Chepkorir Rotich, has unearthed cases where numerous police officers have been faking and bribing their way to higher and undeserving salaries.
Such is the magnitude of the matter that the NPSC chairman Johnston Kavuludi is reported to have written to all the police commanders calling for urgent action stop the fraud through which the government is believed to have lost millions of shillings.
The officers took advantage of a gap in their employment terms that allowed graduates to earn higher salaries than colleagues with lower qualifications.
The committee’s preliminary findings have shown that some rogue officers have been bribing junior payroll officers with between Sh100,000 and Sh200,000 to have them incorporated into the graduate constable scheme to receive higher perks.
“Some officers bribe the payroll officers at Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), Administration and Regular Police and the General Service Unit with between Sh100,000 and Sh200,000 to have their names included without the knowledge or approval of their seniors or the NPSC,” said a source at the human resource section.
The committee undertaking the audit comprises senior officers in the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police drawn from Regular and Administration Police as well the DCI. The audit was conducted in the last 30 days. NPSC is expected to go on a retreat this Friday to discuss the report before handing it over to the investigating agencies for further action.
Contacted, Kavuludi was tight-lipped saying he would only comment about the report when it is made public, next week, due to the sensitivity of the matter. “I can only comment on the issue once the full report is released because any comment at the moment could jeopardise our investigations.
As I promised earlier, we shall release the entire report to members of the public to make their own judgment,” he said.
The preliminary report has also shown that a majority of officers bribing their way to better perks are those who did not qualify to join university.
Authorities in the NPSC are now grappling with how to deal with some officers who scored low grades, like D-Minus in Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education(KCSE) exam but still went on undertake degree courses.
“It is astonishing to note that some officers who joined the police service after scoring a D-minus grade have ended up earning higher salaries after presenting fake Masters Degrees,” the report reads in part.
Even more shocking is the revelation that some of the universities the officers said they attended are not recognised by the Commission for University Education (CUE) while others who claim to hold degrees are not relevant to disciplined forces.
The audit has also revealed that several officers who hold genuine degrees and are qualified are not beneficiaries of the promotion programme. Out of 1,313 regular police officers who joined the graduate scheme last year, only 160 have been confirmed to have genuine degrees.
The graduate scheme was introduced in 1995 by the then Internal Security Permanent Secretary Wilfred Kimalat and Director of Personnel Management Garlord Avedi for the purpose of providing graduates with intensive training before employing them to the rank of inspector.
In the letter, Avedi said this was to differentiate them from ordinary constables and were thus to be designated as university graduate constables and were to be paid a salary of Job Group J. Currently, NPSC regulations provide that it be notified by any officer who intends to go for further studies.
For officers interested in studying, they are either to be granted a scholarship and, if self-sponsored, should be given study leave.
The report came in the wake of reports that some officers’ salaries had been slashed but Kavuludi dismissed the claims, saying the commission was still undertaking an audit to determine pay levels for various ranks.