Nakuru, Kenya: A man accused of being a police impostor allegedly gifted two senior officers cars he could never afford on his salary.
The shocking details made at the opening of public hearings in Nakuru regarding Mr Joshua Waiganjo’s activities include the claim that he gave former Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere and suspended Rift Valley Provincial Police Officer John M’mbijiwe a Toyota Landcruiser each.
It is not clear what version the vehicles were, but in the local market, a used seven-year old Landcruiser Prado in good condition sells for between Sh5 million and Sh6 million, while the higher grade Landcruiser VX can cost between Sh7 million and Sh9 million.
The first witness at the hearings painted the picture of a man with access to millions of shillings and who allegedly enjoyed a cosy relationship with criminals.
A dazed investigating team listened in shock as revelations that will further dent the image of the National Police Service were spilled.
Suspended Njoro OCPD Peter Njeru painted the picture of an influential person in Waiganjo, who used his connections with the highest ranks in the country’s police force to terrorise his juniors to bow to his will.
The commission investigating the suspected conman learnt that Waiganjo had his brother recruited into the force, and accompanied him and a high profile security team to Baragoi prior to the massacre that saw over 42 police officers killed by heavily armed cattle rustlers in an ambush at Suguta Valley.
Njeru told the commission Waiganjo’s younger brother, Mr Gerald Maina, who claimed to be working for micro-finance institution, Faulu Kenya Limited, was hired as a graduate officer.
Njeru and Mbijjiwe were suspended from the force to pave way for investigations into Waiganjo.
Njeru claimed Waiganjo bragged to other officers about his alleged friendship with both Iteere and Mbijjiwe, saying he could call them any time on his mobile phone.
Njeru, who said he had been ordered by Mbijjiwe to accompany him to Baragoi as his personal assistant, said Maina was allowed to board the chopper by the PPO, allegedly as a an employee of Faulu Kenya on a business mission to the area
“I asked him if he was joining us for the trip and he told me that he was working for Faulu Kenya, and wanted to go and talk to Samburu people so that they can be members of the institution. He further told me that the PPO had allowed him to board the chopper for the trip,” Njeru said.
He said while they were airborne, Waiganjo’s brother took photographs using a camera belonging to suspended Anti-Stock Theft Unit head, Mr Remy Ngugi who was also part of the team.
Njeru, who was the first witness during the public hearing in Nakuru said Waiganjo attended a top-level security meeting in Baragoi where he gave a senior officer a dressing down, claiming the man was incompetent. “He castigated the District Criminal Investigation Officer (DCIO) Lawrence Nthenge during the meeting for failing to follow instructions and told him to foot the bill for the lunch we had taken,” Njeru told the commission led by Mary Awuor.
The suspended officer said Waiganjo exercised great influence within the force, and intimidated officers and had others transferred.
“At one time he told me they had agreed with the PPO that the Naivasha OCPD Ernest Oponyo be transferred, and true to his word Oponyo was transferred (to police headquarters) the following day,” he added.
Njeru said that on several occasions he tried to ignore orders from Waiganjo, but the PPO would call and reprimand him for disobeying orders from a senior officer. “When I started ignoring his calls Mbijjiwe called me. He was furious and asked me why I was refusing to take calls from my seniors. Before I could answer he disconnected the call,” the witness said.
After learning that Waiganjo was masquerading as the Deputy PPO Rift Valley, Njeru said he raised the issue with Mbijjiwe. “The PPO informed me that Waiganjo had been sent by Iteere to work in his office,” he said.
He added that the connection between Mbijjiwe and Waiganjo was motivated by monetary and material gains and that at one point Waiganjo showed him the architectural design for a four-story building in Kitengela, bearing the names K. Mbijjiwe and Joshua Waiganjo at the bottom as owners. Njeru said the PPO informed him that Waiganjo was deployed to Nakuru by the Commissioner of Police to work in Mbijjiwe’s office following an upsurge of crime in Nakuru.
The officer said Waiganjo assisted his station acquire a vehicle after making numerous calls to the PPO.
He also said the PPO ordered him to swear a false affidavit linking a popular restaurant in Njoro, Farmers Inn, as a venue for criminals who were committing crimes in the area.
This, he said, was a diversionary tactic aimed at letting the real criminals off the hook.
“In the affidavit I was asked to slot the robberies committed in Njoro at the time as having been planned at Farmers Inn. I later realised the move could have been diversionary to let the real robbers go scot free,” he added. Njeru said the commission should treat him as a whistleblower because he coordinated Waiganjo’s arrest by officers from the Special Crimes Prevention Unit (SPCU)
He said that afterwards, Mbijjiwe became concerned and would call him using a different number from his usual one, seeking updates on the arrest.
“I did not tell him about the officers from SPCU who had come to my office seeking information on how they could get Waiganjo, but after he was arrested, I informed him and he sounded uncomfortable and he would call me and ask umesikia nini? (What have you heard?),” he said.
He said Waiganjo forged a work ticket to authorize use of a vehicle, indicating that it had been signed by a police officer. Waiganjo, said Njeru, sought to be a member of the exclusive Njoro Golf Club, but the application was rejected after he advised the management against accepting the alleged impostor’s request.
He said Waiganjo told him how he had donated vehicles to the Police Commissioner and the PPO. He said the impostor asked him to propose an officer who could be deployed to a station along the border, and the OCPD did not take it seriously.
“But the PPO later called me after Waiganjo had made the suggestion and asked me to propose an officer and I obliged and the officer was immediately deployed,” he added.
Mr Timothy Kamau Githogori a director at the Farmers Inn restaurant in Njoro, told the commission how Waiganjo vowed to have the place closed after falling out with the directors for failing to pay his bills.