Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Rogue police officers 'falsifying evidence' to avoid justice

Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) chairman, Macharia Njeru (right) flanked by US ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec (centre) and vice-chair Jedidah Ntoyai.
Rogue police officers and their commanders have been falsifying evidence to avoid being charged with unlawful killings, the civilian oversight authority revealed Tuesday.
Independent Policing Oversight Authority chairman Macharia Njeru said in some cases where his officers demanded for bullet heads retrieved from victims’ bodies, the police replaced them with others.
“What is arising from part of our investigations is a consistent pattern from our dealings with the police. There is substitution or tampering with evidence. We shall be recommending prosecution because this is a criminal offence,” he said.
Officers have also been ignoring summons issued by the independent investigators.
Three cases in which errant officers were investigated and found to have tampered with evidence are to be forwarded to Director of Public Prosecutions with recommendations to charge them in court.
Twenty-seven other cases are at the investigations stage.
Senior officers found to have covered for their juniors are at the level of a station commander, who is usually a Chief Inspector.
“We want to send a clear message to the police that we are here and we mean business. It’s important for the rule of law because evidence must be preserved so that we can deal with cases of impunity. We have to hold police accountable. We shall be fair and professional in doing so,” Mr Njeru added.
IPOA was formed in 2012 to investigate public complaints against the police, including deaths, serious injuries and violation of human rights among others.
Previously, complaints against rogue officers were investigated by the police themselves and many of those accused went scot-free.
Within the police, the complaints are handled by the Internal Affairs Unit headed by deputy commissioner of police Leo Nyongesa.
The law mandates the civilian oversight body to recommend that rogue officers be prosecuted, reprimanded or dismissed from service altogether.
Since inception, IPOA has received 1,090 complaints.
Mr Njeru spoke at the Authority’s headquarters in Nairobi after receiving forensic investigations equipment from the United States ambassador Robert Godec.
The ambassador said: “The vast majority of the police do their job and they do it well, honourably and effectively. But just like we’ve seen in the US, there are individuals and there are times things don’t go well. So it’s very important to have police oversight,” he said.
Mr Godec revealed that the US has spent Sh 85 million in training IPOA investigators as well as providing equipment.

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