A traffic police officer has agreed to forfeit Sh26 million linked to bribes received from matatu operators on Garissa-Thika highway to the State.
In a deal with Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Jamal Bare Mohammed, a rider who used to patrol the highway, agreed to surrender the money in a bid to settle a case that has been pending in court since 2017.
The EACC has been pursuing Sh47 million from the officer but the Sh26.1 million had been frozen at Equity Bank, awaiting the conclusion of the forfeiture application.
“The sum of Sh26,193,071 held in Equity Bank account number (withheld) in the name of Jamal Bare Mohamed be and is hereby forfeited to the government,” the agreement adopted by Justice James Wakiaga stated.
The EACC said Mr Mohamed started negotiating with the anti-graft body last year and made a proposal for a settlement. Article 252(1)(b) of the Constitution allows the EACC to negotiate, ask for conciliation or mediation.
The anti-graft agency said it rejected the officer’s initial proposals because the figure he was seeking to surrender was considered small and that his explanation how he made the money was not satisfactory.
The anti-graft body also targeted a parcel of land in Thika, which he purchased at Sh3 million and a motor vehicle. But Mr Bare will keep the assets after the deal.
Mr Bare had maintained that part of the wealth was inheritance from his late father and that he was trading in livestock.
During the hearing of the case last year, the EACC told the court that it tracked the officer and recorded him receiving bribes after members of the public made a complaint.
“During the six years, we established that he had cumulative assets, cash and land valued at Sh47 million. He had banked Sh26 million, which has been frozen through a court order,” EACC’s Philip Kagucia said.
Paul Mugwe, a forensic investigator attached to the commission, told the court that the officer was given an opportunity to explain how he made the money after finding a disparity between his assets and his known legitimate sources of income.
Evidence produced in court showed that the 44-year-old officer used to make deposits in tranches of between Sh200,000 and Sh500,000 every week.
In the six-year period, the court heard that Mr Bare’s gross salary was between Sh33,050 and Sh38,630 per month, totalling to Sh1.8 million.
Mr Bare defended himself saying his earnings were legitimate. The traffic officer said he was the sole custodian of his late father’s wealth, acting as trustee on behalf of his family and relatives.
He said after his father died in 1987, he took up the role of managing the inheritance after seeking the counsel of the rest of the family and relatives while adhering to Islamic law. But the EACC dismissed his claims, noting that he was only 10 years when his father died.
Mr Bare also claimed that he traded in livestock for a period of more than 20 years and that the business attracted good returns.
The officer, who joined the police in August 1996, claimed he inherited some 120 camels, 80 cows and 200 goats from his father. He said the animals had multiplied to 217 camels, 180 cows and 268.
But the EACC argued that even giving him the benefit of doubt, the animals were worth about Sh4.3 million according to his own valuation, which left the source of the rest of the property and money unexplained.