Kenyan man arrested on claims of pretending to be a policeman

From Saturday Nation:


Photo: AFP/BBC

A man said to be posing as a senior police officer has been charged with various crimes before a Naivasha court.

The offences against Mr Joshua Karianjahi Waiganjo ranged from robbery with violence to impersonating deputy Rift Valley Provincial Police Officer, and unlawfully having police uniform.

He appeared in a Naivasha court on Wednesday, shortly after 2pm, before senior principal magistrate Esther Bhok.

Mr Waiganjo had in 2003, been charged with a similar offense of impersonating a police officer before a Molo court, and was jailed for six months.

On August 16 last year at Kikopey Trading Centre, the charge sheet read, Mr Waiganjo, together with others not in court, violently robbed Mr Mwangi Njoroge of his lorry and mobile phone all valued at Sh4 million.

He faced another two counts of impersonating a senior police officer with the Anti-Stock Theft Unit at Gilgil and Njoro.

Mr Waiganjo was also charged on January 1, this year, with possession of assorted police uniform at his homes in Gilgil and Njoro, which he had unlawfully obtained.

He denied all the offences and was remanded at the Naivasha Police Station after the prosecution objected to his release on bail saying it had not completed its investigations.

On Thursday, Mr Waiganjo’s family told the Nation that the region’s police command was aware of his role.

A family member who did not want to be named expressed shock at comments by Rift Valley provincial police boss Mr John M’Mbijjiwe appearing in the media, that he did not know the man accused of using his position as a senior policeman to extort money, among other serious crimes.

The source said the man identified as Waiganjo told his family he had been elevated to head of police reservists in Rift Valley region, and even showed pictures taken with senior police officers inside police choppers on security missions such as in Baragoi, where several policemen were killed in a bandit attack recently.

The source said the man would visit his rural home in a police vehicle full with a designated driver, and said it was unfair for the police high command to deny they knew him, now that he had been caught engaging in criminal activities.

In 2003, Mr Waiganjo had been charged with posing as a bodyguard of the then Rift Valley Provincial police boss Stanley Mbuvi.

He had gone to the Molo Police station and asked for a vehicle to “ferry a goat to his boss in Nakuru”.

Police Flying Squad unit boss Nyale Munga who was in charge of Molo CID at the time, recalled how Mr Waiganjo was arrested.

“It’s so surprising that he might still be in the same game,” said Mr Nyale.

Then Molo police boss Herbert Khaemba, presently serving in the same capacity in Oloitokitok, recalled the 2003 incident.

He told Nation how Mr Waiganjo confidently walked into his office like someone conversant with the police formalities. He identified himself as a bodyguard of the Provincial Police boss and asked the divisional chief let him use his official vehicle.

“He saluted me in a manner suggesting that he was an officer. He then told me he was sent by the PPO to ferry a goat to Nakuru from Molo and wanted to use my vehicle,” said Mr Khaemba.

Mr Khaemba, who spoke to the Nation yesterday, said he doubted the man’s identity and made him wait at the reception while he called his boss for further directions.

“The PPO told me that he did not have a bodyguard by that name and ordered that the man be interrogated.”

After verifying that the man was a fraud, he then called the CID officer to arrest him.

Investigations at the time established that Mr Waiganjo was running a store in Molo town selling second-hand motor vehicle spares.

His father is the Full Gospel Church official in Molo

Residents in the town recall that after completing his secondary school, he attended NYS.

In the latest case Mr Waiganjo is said to have attempted to handcuff a man at a hotel in Njoro area of Nakuru County. His action raised eyebrows forcing the hotel management to call the police who arrested him.

The case is raising raises questions on the system of identification and promotion in the police service.

In 2006 two Armenians, Artur Margaryan and Artur Sargasyan commonly known as Artur brothers had been hired by the Government to set up a unit inside the CID that would tackle organised crime.

The then CID director Joseph Kamau officially appointed them deputy police commissioners, but it later turned out that they were criminals dealing in stolen cars, and illicit arms and drugs.

They also had connections to powerful people including controversial businesswoman and political activist Mary Wambui who claimed close links to State House.

Mr Waiganjo’s case will come up for hearing on January 9.

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