The National Police Service (NPS) has turned its gaze towards an Officer Commanding Station (OCS) accused of extorting money from businesswoman Marceline Atieno, popularly known as Mercy Atis.
In an interview with Citizen TV that aired on Sunday, May 1, Atieno detailed how the OCS, who was attached to Kitengela Police Station, and his juniors would make rounds around her business collecting bribes which they christened protection fee.
It all began when she reported an incident in which a customer had failed to settle a bill totaling over Ksh6,000 at her Motherland Foods and Drinks in Kitengela, Kajiado County.
She noted that instead of apprehending the suspect, the police targeted her for running an alcohol joint and introduced a monthly fee of Ksh5,000 alongside other daily levies from random officers.
“One day, there are customers who came here and partook alcohol worth Ksh6,700 but refused to pay. Every time I called them, they abused me. I went to the Police Station to report the matter but I was setting myself up to the Police that I owned a bar.
“Instead of arresting the suspects, they placed me in a situation where I was to pay OCS monthly. I was told that if I don’t cooperate, I would be arrested thrice and close the bar down,” she explained.
From mid-2021, it appeared like the terms of engagement had changed – she would pay the OCS but other junior officers would periodically visit her joint to demand a daily fee ranging between Ksh50 and Ksh200.
The straw that broke the camel’s back came soon after the ‘bribe’ became too much to handle forcing her to close down the business and make her accusations public.
In response, Police Spokesperson Bruno Shioso confirmed that the OCS had since been transferred and investigations opened into his conduct.
Investigations kicked off in mid-March shortly after the matter surfaced with the Spokesperson noting that he attempted to contact Atis for her side of the story.
The extortion incident has only compounded Atieno’s woes since her incarceration and deportation from the United States in 2014.
She tried a stint in music but continued struggling until wellwishers contributed Ksh500,000 for her that helped her set up the business in Kitengela.