4 December 2012

Liberia: Let the Police Be Clear About the Diplomatic Plate


Last Saturday, December 1, 2012, the Liberia National Police said they re-arrested a member of a notorious criminal gang famous for dressing like a diplomat and at the same time creating havoc at various local banks in arm robbery attacks. The Police identified the suspect as Amos Chaindu, a Nigerian.

Deputy Police Director for Operations Col. Abraham Kromah told reporters that suspect Chaindu was first arrested following an arm robbery incident at a local bank in Firestone in March this year. He alleged that the Nigerian suspect and his collaborators entered the bank and put the customers and staff at gun point. The Deputy Police Chief also said the suspected armed robbers were fully attired in coat suits and used a vehicle bearing a diplomatic license plate marked 10-CD-21.

He Also Disclosed that customers and others at the bank raised alarm leaving the robbers to escape the scene but the police arrested Amos Chaindu; investigated him and subsequently sent him to court on Arm Robbery charges. Unfortunately, Kromah said suspect Chaindu resurfaced at a commercial bank on Broad Street where he was re-arrested and now in police custody. The suspect was given the opportunity to speak to the press in which he claimed that he was released on bail and displayed a court document.

Now, Our Concern has to do with the diplomatic license plate reportedly used by the armed robbers and whether the police submitted all the evidence to the office of the County Attorney for the prosecution of suspect Chaindu. Did the Police officially inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the diplomatic plate when the vehicle was impounded in March? If so, did the Foreign Ministry verify whether 10-CD-21 diplomatic plate is real or fake? Which foreign mission is this plate assigned to?

As Far As we know every foreign mission accredited here has an assigned code. We believe that the Liberia National Police through its Deputy Director for Operations Abraham Kromah needs to be very clear about this diplomatic plate. Sending a criminal suspect to court entails adducing evidence. Did the police identify the foreign mission the plate was assigned to? If so, why did the legal counsel of that mission failed to go to court if he or she ever provided statement to the police during preliminary investigation?

Under international laws, diplomats are protected by the state and entitled to certain rights and privileges. We don't expect our foreign friends to experience any kind of criminality, especially during this festive season. Therefore, the police must be robust in dealing with criminal minded individuals who might want to hide under the guise of diplomatic amenities to cause havoc.

We Strongly Believe that if the Police had submitted evidence in court to prosecute suspect Chaindu, it would have been highly impossible for him to get out of prison while the trial is ongoing. There is a provision in our statute, when a suspect is not tried for more than two terms of court, he is entitled to a criminal appearance bond whether the crime is bailable or not.

The Liberia National Police must tell the public what really went wrong during the first arrest of Chaindu and stop providing surface information that lacks clarity and presents doubts. Let the Police be clear about the diplomatic license plate.

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