Claims of corruption in issuance of guns to civilians formed the basis for Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to disband a body charged with the exercise.
Further claims of nepotism and corruption also influenced the CS to stop a planned recruitment and arming of Kenya Police Reservists (KPR) in various parts of the country.
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The majority of KPR serve in rural and pastoralist areas where they confront bandits. There are about 8,000 KPR countrywide.
After a brief probe revealed that there were plans to arm thousands of civilians and allow them to join KPR, the Government announced stoppage of the exercise.
Matiang’i said police were conducting a comprehensive audit of police reservists to identify those who had firearms and recover weapons from wrong hands.
Recently reports indicated that some gun holders illegally held the weapons whose permits are usually issued by the Chief Firearms Licensing Officer.
Some gun holders realised the firearm certificates they held had been revoked, as they belonged to individuals confirmed dead.
Matiang’i announced the disbandment of the Firearms and Licensing Board, citing corruption, incompetence and misbehavior.
He said his ministry was in the process of reconstituting a new team.
“We have been working quietly in the last few months to create a digital record of all those who hold genuine and legit firearms certificates. The exercise is almost complete. We shall be issuing new certificates soon. Anyone not holding the new certificate will be deemed to be holding an illegal firearm,” he noted.
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There are about 15,000 private gun owners countrywide.
The announcement comes a month after cancellation of 21 gun dealers and shooting ranges licences.
The Interior ministry is also verifying all gun dealers and firearms licences to confirm if they were genuinely issued.
Also under scrutiny are the regulations in place and whether they can be improved.
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