By Calvin Brooks
MONROVIA, December 12 (LINA) – Representative Larry Youngquoi of Nimba County has expressed serious concern about police extortion and harassment of commercial vehicles plying the highways in Liberia.
Representative Youngquoi observed that the reported extortion and harassment of commercial vehicles by police officers should be stopped because it is creating a bad image for Liberia, noting that police officers should be protecting lives and property, rather than extorting and harassing citizens as they move around in commercial vehicles.
The Nimba County lawmaker expressed the concern Thursday in a communication to the Plenary of the House of Representatives in which he recommended that the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Chris Massaquoi be invited to give reasons why there are several makeshift checkpoints on the various highways in the country.
He alleged that police officers are using government vehicles on the highways to extort money from commercial drivers for selfish gains,
noting that this was causing serious hardship for ordinary citizens who transport their goods from one county to another.
He said this attitude on the part of police officers is a disgrace to professional policing in Liberia, and requested the august body to
ensure that this action of the police is halted.
Representative Youngquoi stressed that it is unfair for vehicle owners to be paying taxes to government, while police officers continue to
harass them without any justifiable reason.
When contacted about the allegation levied against the Liberia National Police by the Nimba lawmaker, Police Spokesman Sam Collins
neither denied nor confirmed the allegation, but said the LNP will launch an investigation into the matter.
Collins said police officers who are patrolling the highways are not there to extort money from commercial drivers and peaceful citizens,
but rather to ensure traffic safety on the highways.
He warned that if the allegation of Representative Youngquoi is proved to be true by the investigation, all those involved in such act will be dealt with according to the police code of conduct.