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March 22, 2018

Matatu owners demand lifestyle audit of corrupt traffic cops

A traffic police officer inspects a matatu during a crackdown in Nyeri. /FILE
A traffic police officer inspects a matatu during a crackdown in Nyeri. /FILE

Matatu owners are demanding a lifestyle and bank account audit of traffic police officers.

Association chair Simon Kimutai accused police of enriching themselves by demanding bribes rather than ensuring law and order on roads.

During a meeting with the EACC on Thursday, Kimutai said the commission should investigate accounts owned by traffic officers.

"They even have the audacity to establish kangaroo courts to heftily fine our members. They have agreed with some judges that every Sh3,000 they collect is shared equally. This must stop," he said.

[VIDEO] Drama as traffic cops 'save' colleagues arrested by EACC over bribery

The chair said members of saccos that have refused to cooperate with the officers have been harassed, intimidated and their matatus grounded.

"If you refuse to give them money, the officers ensure they cripple your operations and every time you are arrested you  part with at least Sh10,000 for the Division Traffic Officer," he said.

Kimutai further asked EACC officers to assist them with legal teams that can defend their members when unfair arrests are made.

"We want to be given free bond when we are arrested. This is the only way to end bribery in the matatu sector because if police know you will be released on free bond, and lawyers will be availed to defend you, they will not dare ask for bribes."

EACC CEO Halakhe Waqo said they will partner with the matatu sector to instill a culture of orderliness and ethics in the transport sector.

He said this will strengthen public-private collaboration aimed at promoting ethics and observance of the rule of law.

"We are going to pursue relevant amendments to anti-corruption laws to ensure the legal framework is strong enough to combat and prevent corruption in matatu sector," he said.

The CEO added  the commission will conduct outreach programmes to equip matatu owners with knowledge on fighting corruption.

"We want matatu owners to be agents of change and anti-corruption crusaders by sensitising their members on Bribery Act 2016," he said.

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