Police Director Chris Massaquoi has stated that considering the series of allegations involving senior police officers engaging in armed robberies and other forms of criminal activities, their cases have been turned over to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) for investigation.
The Liberia National Police (LNP) recently confirmed reports of complicity in armed robbery cases by some of it senior officers. The LNP said those officers were undergoing investigation.
Three of the seven officers being investigated were identified as T. Edwin Swen, commonly known as T-Swen, Sam Ballah or the R3, and John Kollie, alias Dilemma. All seven accused are assigned with the Crime Services Division (CSD).
During a news conference recently in Monrovia, opposition party Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) youth leader, Jefferson Koijee, said his party had received the information allegedly linking the Commander of the Anti-Robbery Unit of the LNP, Johnny Dean, otherwise known as R4, Morris Dennis, AKA R5 and Jersey Harris, otherwise known as 105, to several armed robbery incidents in Monrovia and its environs.
The Anti-Robbery Unit was founded by the former Deputy Police Director for Operations, Abraham Kromah, to fight armed robbery, which was on the rise at the time. The report was later confirmed by Director Chris Massaquoi, who promised to investigate the accused officers.
Director Massaquoi said such acts bring into question the integrity of the LNP, especially the ranks of the accused officers, “and further considering the possibility that the matter might have indictable causes, the LNP thought it prudent to forward the report to the MOJ.”
Massaquoi made the disclosure yesterday at the Ministry of Information press briefing in Monrovia.
The report, he said, was sent to MOJ authorities on January 29, to be reviewed by the Solicitor-General for further probe if necessary to determine whether the allegations and findings of the report are credible before court.
Director Massaquoi said, “The accused officers have not yet been found liable of any criminal offense. We therefore urge the public to refrain from coming to conclusions until the Solicitor General reviews the findings.”
He added, “The LNP, under our watch, will continue to encourage professionalism and integrity from our officers in the discharge of their duties. We are committed to this and remain unrelenting in our resolve to take the LNP a step further in terms of police conduct in relation to the public.”
Based on that, Director Massaquoi reemphasized the LNP’s commitment to ensure that the rule of law is upheld at all times by all, with the police being of no exception.
“We want to further reemphasize our resolve to remain vigilant and to take immediate action against any police officer who would violate the rule of law,” he said.
According to Director Massaquoi, the decision to turn over officers accused of criminal activities to the MOJ was just the beginning of the LNP’s efforts to weed out real and potential rotten apples within its ranks.
He added that the action is also intended to send a strong message to all other officers to operate and remain within the the law, and that no exception will be made in dealing drastically with any officer found guilty of violating their Code of Ethics as enshrined in the LNP Duty Manual, and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), notwithstanding their status in the LNP.
Massaquoi called on the public to join the police in helping to fight crime in the society by exposing all criminal activities within their communities as well as any observed police misconduct.
Before forwarding the accused police officers to the MOJ, Director Massaquoi said it was earlier brought to his attention that there were police officers allegedly involved in facilitating and supporting armed robbers.