For attempting to “sell government vehicles”
Police in the crossroads town of Gbarnga in Central Liberia yesterday arrested two members of the Presidential taskforce established by President George Weah to retrieve vehicles from former government officials. Police alleged that the men tried to vend three of those government vehicles that were retrieved in Bong County.
According to Bong County Police Detachment Commander, Fredrick Nappy, suspects Swinny Diakpo, 32, who claimed to be a logistics officer assigned with the task force, and Dickson Anani, 48, a field agent of the task force, were arrested in Gbarnga on Monday July 2, after police received a tip-off from a well-placed informer.
Last March, President Weah set up a presidential task force with a mandate to retrieve government vehicles from past officials of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who “refused” to turn over their assigned vehicles after leaving government.
Many citizens described the task force as necessary, because, according to them, the government does not have a proper tracking system in place for its properties.
Nappay informed this newspaper that the suspects had earlier told police that the head of the task force, (name not disclosed), sent them to Gbarnga to take the vehicles to Monrovia.
He explained that the suspects took delivery of the vehicles in question and carried them to a local garage for servicing, but said police later subsequent intelligence that Diakpo and Anani had earlier arranged with a man purporting to be a businessman to purchase the vehicles.
It is not established how much the two arrested GSA officials were marketing the vehicles for, but it is speculated that they attempted vending them for cheap price.
The local Presidential Task Force in Bong County repossessed more than nine vehicles from some former government officials and turned them over to the local GSA Office, even though the Task Force is being dissolved. some of the arrested vehicles are parked at the GSA.
A GSA security personnel assigned at the Gbarnga office, Varney Kamara, told the Daily Observer that they had intelligence that Diakpo and Anani were coming to Gbarnga to vend some of the vehicles retrieved by the Task Force, “adding that upon the information, we planted one of our colleagues as a potential buyer. He was in constant communication with the suspects. This is how they were apprehended.”
Meanwhile, the suspects have provided different accounts about their alleged involvement in the illegal auction of the vehicles.
As for Anani, he denied any involvement in attempting to sell vehicles, adding “I was informed by this my boss, Swinny Diakpo, that our chairman instructed him to come and take stock of the vehicles. And that is how I came with him to Gbarnga.”
Diakpo too he said he wanted to expose a senior employee of the GSA, who he claimed had been illegally buying retrieved vehicles.
“There is a guy who works in the GSA. He did some clandestine acts before and we booked him. We have that record on him. He is the same person who wants to put us in this problem, telling us he wants to buy cars,” Diakpo said.
Diakpo said he wanted to take the cars to Monrovia and call the GSA personnel who he claimed wanted to purchase the cars so that he could get the police to arrest him.
The police have charged Diakpo and Anani with theft of property and forwarded them to Monrovia for prosecution.