Long-serving Director of Criminal Investigations Ndegwa Muhoro has been dropped from the new government line-up unveiled by President Uhuru Kenyatta Friday.
He has been replaced in an acting capacity by Mr George Kinoti, in changes announced Friday.
Mr Kinoti, an Assistant Inspector General of police, has been serving as the National Police Service spokesman since December 2014. He was moved to the docked from the Central Bank where he was an assistant director in charge of security.
President Kenyatta said that Mr Muhoro, Mr Joel Kitili — the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the Kenya Police — and Mr Samuel Arachi — his Administration Police counterpart — had all been redeployed to the Public Service Commission. Their next assignment is not yet clear.
Mr Muhoro whose six-year term was to end in February this year handed over to Mr Kinoti in a closed-door ceremony at the DCI headquarters along Kiambu road.
The 50-year old who holds a masters degree in Security Management from Egerton University will be in charge of the Special Crime Prevention Unit (SCPU), Banking Fraud Investigations Department (BFID), the Flying Squad, the Anti-narcotics Unit, the Bomb and Hazardous Disposal Unit, Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) and Cyber Crimes Investigations Unit.
In this office, he will find an overflowing in-tray comprising files of unresolved murders, robberies and other case files that have gone cold.
It has not been easy for Mr Kinoti.
In 2006, he submitted a resignation letter to his bosses after the new police leadership under former commissioner Hussein Ali attempted to create a new order.
He was one of the officers targeted after the former DCI Joseph Kamau fell out with the government of the day over the Artur brothers scandal.
At the time, Mr Kinoti doubled up as Mr Kamau’s personal assistant and head of Kanga Squad, a specialised unit that was mandated to pursue and subdue hardened criminals.
But the administration, on further investigation, refused to accept Mr Kinoti’s resignation.
Maj-Gen Ali then revoked his transfer to Kuria as deputy division commander, an assignment that had prompted the resignation, and deployed him to Vigilance House, the police headquarters, as the officer in charge of complaints section.
Mr Kinoti has led some of the investigations that to date are cited by police instructors to their students.
He was the lead detective in the case involving author Ngugi was Thiong’o and his wife Njeeri, when they were attacked by gangsters at Norfolk apartments in Nairobi.
At the start, with a different team of detectives, the case faced collapse and under intense pressure, Mr Kamau was forced to axe the team and constitute a fresh one under Mr Kinoti.
The first team had been working hand in hand with Prof Thiongo’s relative, Chege Kiragu, who was present during the attack.
But when Mr Kinoti took over, within weeks of the investigation he arrested Mr Kiragu alongside security guards who were guarding the apartment against the attack.
The guards are still languishing in prison although Mr Kiragu was acquitted.
Between 2004 and 2005, Ngong area on the outskirts of Nairobi became synonymous with strange murders.
After a string of killings and after efforts by the local police division to curtail them bore no success, Mr Kinoti and a handful of officers under him were deployed there.
Investigations showed that the gang behind the killings was targeting “newcomers” who had bought land and built homes there in a bid to run away from the bustle associated with residential estates nearer to the city centre.
In the operation that followed, involving shoot-outs and police stake-outs, sanity was restored in the Ngong suburb.
At the CBK, Mr Kinoti authorised and led crackdowns against illegal betting companies that had set shop in Upper Hill and at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi after which he was promoted to Assistant Inspector-General of Police.
Late in 2017, the new DCI was in Washington DC where he underwent training in border intelligence control, a collaboration between Kenya and United States governments.
Mr Kinoti is also a trainee of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on anti-money laundering as well as anti-terrorism.
He was also among senior police officers who have been training with counterparts in National Intelligence Service on psychological warfare.
In the new order by President Kenyatta, Mr Kinoti is expected, among other tasks, to break cartels that have taken over Mazingira House, the DCI headquarters, on Kiambu Road.
These cartels, comprising unscrupulous businessmen and rogue detectives, work to ensure investigations are compromised so as to accommodate their interests.
This way, unresolved murders and crooked land deals are never fully investigated and thus lawbreakers are never taken to court.
Under Mr Kinoti’s leadership, just like happened after his predecessors took charge, heads are expected to roll to suit his style of doing things.