New Democrat (Monrovia)

11 January 2013

Liberia: Police Lambasted

Police chief, Col. Chris Massaquoi's admission of corruption in the police force due to low salaries and lack of means for the rank and file to pay their rents has attracted widespread public outcry with some discharging anger and frustration against some police officers for alleged engagement in extortion and bribery.

Police rank and file have been accused repeatedly of accepting bribe to compromise high profile cases and involvement in corruption, but their chiefs often defended them by refuting these claims.

But Col. Massaquoi affirmed last week that some of his men were involved in the LBDI

US$150,000 armed robbery attack in Walker's Town on Buchanan highway by helping some of the suspects to evade security checkpoints.

And Deputy Police chief for Administration, Col. Rose Stryker Wednesday admitted: "We hear a lot of corruption in the police. I

am saying the situation that is created for some of us makes it easy for some of us to do those things (corruption)."

Col. Stryker made the assertion when she received an award from the Society for Promotion of Peace, National Reconciliation and Reunification for her outstanding performance in the police force.

She insisted that US$150 salary is small for the rank and file of the police to take care of their rents and other domestic needs.

In reaction to her statement on the Truth Breakfast Show Thursday, one caller in Sinkor argued that even if salaries and incentives were increased for the police, they would still extort money from commercial drivers.

Another caller, who spoke in an angry tone from Clara Town, said if rents are too high for the police to afford, they should skip apartments and take rooms they can afford.

A female caller from Gardnersville lamented the corruption admission statement, saying: "Oh God, we will suffer because if the police boss can say those things, it means we are not safe any more."

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