Being a Kenyan cop means dealing with all sorts of crazy trouble. And some people can get pretty desperate to make an officer look the other way. And according to a 2015 report by Transparency International, It usually works.
The report says that in East Africa’s most prosperous economy, the average city resident pays up to 16 bribes per month. Locals have dubbed Kenya “ya kitu kidogo.”
Dozen of Kenyans say the police come not to patrol, but to get rich. They describe the same scene repeating every Friday night: Police pick up residents and threaten them with jail unless they hand over money. The scene has become so normal, some neighbourhoods are known as a police “ATM machine.”
Constable Jamal Bare Mohamed has become a ‘legend’ among traffic cops for his riches given his low rank in the force and with earnings of an average of Sh35,000 per month, yet managed to deposit Sh33 million in one of his bank accounts in just two years.
By the time EACC detectives caught up with him, the motorbike rider had managed to deposit Sh33 million in his bank accounts and managed to invest in assets worth Sh47 million, between the periods January 2013 to August 2016. The former police officer based at Thika Police Station also owned a plot in Makongeni Estate, Thika, valued at Sh4 million believed to be proceeds of crime.
Constable Jamal Bare Mohamed is among 34 junior traffic officers countrywide alleged to have received millions of shillings over the past two years in bribes, EACC investigations indicate.
The 33 are just a fraction of the deadly corruption network that has turned Kenyan roads into a money minting avenue worth billions of shillings, even as thousands of people continue to die from accidents each year despite regulations introduced by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).
When broken down, police motorcycle rider Mohamed earned a net salary of Sh840,000 in the past two years but has Sh26 million in one of his bank accounts, which the High Court froze on Friday evening after a successful application by anti-corruption investigators.
Also unclear is whether the NPSC noticed that the same officer was operating two different accounts under a similar name at a bank, each with suspicious bulk deposits and withdrawals and why he did not withdraw his salary on a number of months.