9 January 2013

Liberia: 'Mafia Police' Trial Set for February

Grand Bassa County Attorney Onesmeous Barwon says the Deputy Chief of the Organized Crime Unit of the Liberia National Police, Amos Soumie and an accomplice, Cpl. Collins Syvenius, will face trial for armed robbery charge during the February A.D. 2013 Term of Court.

The two police officers were charged with armed robbery in Monrovia and transferred to Grand Bassa County on Saturday, January 5, 2013 for allegedly facilitating an armed robbery scheme against the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) in August 2012, making away with US$150,000.

During police criminal investigation, suspected armed robbers claimed that officers Soumie and Syvenius facilitated their escape by giving them lift in a Police Anti-Robbery Vehicle just after they [armed robbers] attacked and fired several shots at the driver and occupants, who boarded the LBDI van that was conveying US$150,000.00 to its sub-branches in Grand Bassa County on August 29, 2012.

Though Police Director Chris Massaquoi said no money was retrieved from the suspects during a news conference held on Friday, January 4, 2013, he however vowed that the police force under his watch will deal with the bad apples , including those he described as 'mafias' within the LNP.

In connection to the LBDI US$150,000 armed robbery incident, the police chief further revealed that one of the suspected armed robbers Charles "Charlie Angel" Gray, who absconded the scene after the incident occurred along the Walker's Town Buchanan Highway in Grand Bassa, was arrested, in addition to six others that were previously arrested and sent to court in the county.

"According to police preliminary investigation conducted, it was established that suspect Charles Gray was one of those, who boarded the LBDI van that was conveying the US$150,000.00...", added Director Massaquoi.

Following the armed robbery attack, Director Massaquoi said the suspects claimed that officers Soumie (known as R4) and Syvenius ( a.k.a "419") facilitated their escape from the crime scene by giving them lift in the police anti-robbery vehicle, thereby penetrating "all of the police road blocks" that were set up on the highway in anticipation of arresting them.

The police chief additionally told the media that two of the armed robbery suspects connected to the LBDI robbery incident, Junior Roberts and James Sackie were arrested with two single barrel pistols in Gatna, Nimba County on New Year's Eve. He said the suspects are in police custody, undergoing investigation.

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