Wa Municipal: the police caught pants down?

Story by: Ilyaas Al-Hasan and Bushran Muhammad.

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In a seeming case of police exploitation, the Wa Municipal Police Command has been accused of engaging in a conflict of interest situation over a recent auctioning of a stockpile of impounded motorbikes, according to a W FM report.

The police on December 29, 2020, undertook an auctioning exercise at the Police Command to clear the motorbikes seized from their owners for committing various offences but failed to go to claim them for over a period of time.

The police were said to have seized an unregistered motorbike of one DJ Nice, a staff of W FM, a Wa-based radio station, according to the victim.

In his narration to host of the station’s flagship Morning Show program, Hafiz Timbile, on Monday 11 January, 2021, the Disc Jockeyer said two police men accosted and seized the Haojo motorbike from him in June 2020 for failing to register it.

According to him, while they were taking the bike away he decided to follow them to the police station for the necessary processes to enable him get it back but they declined to let him go with them. He said he went to the station later but there was no trace of them neither did he find the motorbike there.

He stated that this led him to report the issue to the command who despite their investigations could not identify those two police officers or the location of the said motorbike. He said he never spotted the motorbike nor heard anything about it again from the police until on December 31, 2020, when he spotted a gentleman riding it.

He noted that when he confronted the rider, the man told him it was given to him to repair by a police officer. He said when he asked the said officer of the law, he claimed he had acquired it through an auction conducted by his outfit.

DJ Nice, as he is affectionately called, narrated that at this point, he decided to report the matter to the Station Officer, the Crime Officer as well as the Regional Commander and was able to retrieve the motorbike a week later at no cost, though the officer in possession of the bike before its retrieval requested to be compensated for having paid for its repairs.

The Programs Manager of W FM, Mr. Ras Bob, who was a panelist on the same program elucidating on the matter, said that even though it was constitutional and legal to auction items just like other agencies, he noted such exercises must be devoid of secrecy and conflict of interest which he believed was what occurred in this instance.

According to him, the letter by the police inviting the public for the auction exercise on 29th December, 2020, categorically stated the event was going to start at 9:30am prompt. Ras Bob alleged he got to the event as early as 8:00am, an hour and half clear before the stipulated time, only to find many of the auctioning motorbikes had already been allocated to people with their names embossed on them which turned out to be names of the officers of the law.

He wondered why any auctioning could have taken place to sell the motorbikes to some officers even before the program that was billed to start at 9:30am could kick start.

Stating emphatically that the case involving the seizure of DJ Nice’s and its onward purported auctioning was a clear case of conflict of interest, the astute journalist argued it was wrong for the police officers to involve in buying the auctioning items since this has the propensity to encourage criminality among officers.

He said like in the case of his colleague, DJ Nice, some officers may find reason to confiscate a motorbike from someone and then hide it away from the police, to wait for auctioning so the person can claim it.

According to Bob even though he was at the auctioning venue, he did not see the particular motorbike under contention only for them to spot a police man riding it two days later indicating it might have been hidden somewhere waiting for the auctioning to pave way for its ownership.

He also lashed out at the Police Command for choosing to shield the officers who brought the bike to the police station stating, the said officers should have been exposed and punished for the shameful act.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gideon Ohene Boateng, the Public Relations Officer of the Police Command when reached by Tungsung News Room for a response, chose to give us an audio recording of an earlier interview he had with a colleague journalist on the auctioning exercise that ended up doing little to address this story.

While debunking allegations of names of officers being written on some motorbikes even before the auctioning time was due, Mr. Gideon Boateng, also argued it was alright for police officers to also purchase some of the auctioned bikes as every other person.

“On the 29th (of December, 2020), we auctioned motorbikes to be precise, we didn’t see any police officers name written on any other motorbike that we said this motorbike…”

“Yes, it’s being sold to the general public and so we’re also part of the general public. So if a policeman buys a motorbike in the period of auctioning, I don’t think…there is nothing wrong with that I may say. And i have to say, I debunk the idea of the public or the reporter who said police have auctioned to themselves,” Mr. Gideon explained.

 

Source: Tungsung News Room.

 

 

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