Making the disclosure of the acts of the Police officers and the taxi driver Col. Massaquoi said he sees the action of the Police officers a few days after his warning to engage days after his warning to them at the 42nd graduation exercise of the Police Training Academy on last weekend as an act of defiance.
"We would like to bring to the mind of the public, our statement made on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at the 22nd graduation ceremony of the Liberia National Police Training Academy in which, among other things; we warned officers of the Liberia National Police as well as the driving public as well as the driving public against engaging in corrupt practices, especially bribery," said Col. Massaquoi.
"Regrettably, and as if to test our resolve, two members of the very class 42, were on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 just three days after sounding this warning; at about 11:30 and 11:45 respectively, together with a civilian driver named Morris Herbert, operator of a Toyota Corolla taxi with License plate TX-9743 were caught in an act of soliciting bribe. The incident took place at the ELWA Junction involving officer Humphrey Karn, who received LD$30 from the operator of TX-9743 Mr. Morris Herbert and Officer Varney Massallay who was caught soliciting bribe on the Capitol Bye-Pass."
Col. Massaquoi said the officers who were also a part of the graduation ceremony on Saturday, along with the operator of TX-9743 identified as Mr. Morris Herbert was arrested by a member of the LNP vice squad and the senior inspector of Police respectively, and were brought to the headquarters for investigation.
The Police boss said the action taken by the LNP against the officer and the taxi driver is meant to serve as a deterrent measure to others who continue to bring the Police into public disrepute. "Since these officers chose to test our resolve and mistook our warning as a bluff; they have been summarily dismissed and will be forwarded to the court along with operator Morris Herbert for prosecution," he said.
"The LNP under our watch is determined and will not relent in identifying and weeding out from our midst any and all undesirable elements within the Liberian National Police when identified, with the aim of drastically dealing unethical behavior or practices."
He said the Taxi marked TX- 9743 have been impounded and will only be released upon payment of impoundment fee into government coffers in keeping with the law. Col. Massaquoi noted that the Police will punish its officers engaged in acts of corruption, but in the same light it holds the public accountable for facilitating such acts.
"The same goes for any member of the driving public who, along with Police officers attempt to tarnish the image of the Police by engaging in or soliciting bribes. Let me, therefore reemphasize that LNP remains uncompromising in this endeavor, no matter who is involved; no matter his or her status," he said.
"Let me sound this caveat again, gone are the days when the image and integrity of the Police were trampled upon by elements of the public as well as those within the Police. Today therefore begins a declaration of full-scale war as well as the reaffirmation that this administration will continue to fight against the practices of corruption by some elements within the Police and those of the driving public.
Let this serve as a strong warning to those who wish to test our determination to win this fight."
Act of corruption intolerable
On Saturday Col. Massaquoi told Police Academy graduates at a ceremony that under he would tolerate nothing less than Police officers' full adherence to training in terms of their performance, adding the LNP would deal decisively with any Police officer who engage in unethical behavior such as Police Misconduct, bribery and other misdemeanor.
"Talking about bribery, let me caution all Police officers, and I am zooming in especially on Traffic Police officers, to desist from soliciting bribe from traffic offenders, either by seizing their vehicle documents/drivers' licenses for a minor traffic offense that might warrant only a warning, and then walking away with the aim of soliciting a bribe," he said.
Continued Col. Massaquoi: "This is unacceptable, unacceptable and therefore, perpetrators will be punished under the rule of Prohibited Conduct" as found in the LNP Duty Manual. But let me also sound this warning to the general public; in order for bribery to take place, it will involve more than one person. Let me, therefore sound this caveat to all who are in the habit of offering bribe to Police officers to desist or the Police will be left with no alternative but to arrest those concerned when caught."