Kakamega: Police on the spot over bribery in coronavirus fight

“They have been coming to ask us if we have sanitisers and masks. When you don’t have, they tell you to give them 'chai' or they threaten you with arrest.”

Police officers in Kakamega have been accused of demanding bribes from small-scale traders who have not complied with safety standards set by health experts to check spread of novel coronavirus.

They are said to be demanding bribes of between Sh1,000 and Sh3,000.

Led by Jua Kali Traders Association chairman Moses Musundi, the traders said since confirmation of the first case in the country, the police have been harassing them.

"It’s quite unfortunate that as the government, leaders and citizens make efforts in trying to curb the spread of the virus, the police are taking advantage by milking money from traders in the guise of checking if they have complied with standards set by health experts on coronavirus," Mr Musundi said.

He described the actions by police as insensitive and urged the government to take action against those found culpable.

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According to him, the president’s raft of measures in halting the spread of the virus would be an exercise in futility if the police continue harassing and soliciting bribes from the public.

"They are making us look like we are less concerned about our health and lives. They should be warned this is a global issue that requires concerted efforts and not greed," said Musundi.

He urged Governor Wycliffe Oparanya to address the issue failure to which they would call for a peaceful procession to his office.

Alfred Wamulwa, a welder, said he has, in the past two weeks, received many visits from police officers.

"Every morning, since last week, they have been coming to ask us if we have sanitisers and masks. When you don’t have, they tell you to give them 'chai' or they threaten you with arrest. They are even demanding bribes from hotels and shops that have sanitisers," claimed Wamulwa.

Kakamega Sub-County Police Commander David Kabena said he was unaware of the claims, urging those with facts to present them to his office for action.


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