Capitol Hill, Monrovia – Montserrado County District #8 Rep. Moses Acarous Gray has called on Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue to caution his men against what he termed as their constant denigration of members of the House of Representatives.
Rep. Gray, speaking during the appearance of Col. Sudue and Transport Minister Samuel Wlue on Tuesday said, on several occasions, some police officers intentionally obstruct members of the Legislature from discharging their legislative functions either by impounding their vehicles or attacking them physically under the pretense that they (police) are performing their duties.
Rep. Gray, who chairs the House Committee on Executive, named several incidents, one involving Rep. Vincent Willie (District #4, Grand Bassa County) and a police officer who allegedly attempted to discharge a firearm at the lawmaker. He said several of his colleagues including House Speaker Bhofal Chambers (District #2, Maryland County), Reps. Yekeh Kolubah (District #10, Montserrado County), Francis Saidy Dopoh (District #3, River Gee County), Richard Koon (District #11, Montserrado County) and Hanson Kiazolu (District 17, Montserrado County) had all been victims of police intimidation on separate occasions.
Citing several constitutional provisions, Rep. Gray noted that although members of the Legislature are not above the law, the Police should be cautious in dealing with them in order to not violate their rights and privileges accorded by the constitution of Liberia just as the President, Vice President and members of the Judiciary.
“The House of rep will not tolerate any more disrespect from a police officer. I am not saying that when a lawmaker violates the law, the police cannot act, the police is under obligation to act. But they should not be against the rights and privileges of the lawmakers,” he warned.
His assertions were in response to comments made by Inspector General Sudue that the amended traffic law now gives members of the Legislature and other VIPs the right to ply opposite lane during times of emergency, but advised that they should use a single license plate assigned to them and an official vehicle, not multiple plates and cars as currently used. He also called on the lawmakers to install emergency lights and sirens on their vehicles to be easily identifiable.
But Rep. Gray said each lawmaker were assigned two license plates to be used on two official vehicles, and as such, the Minister and the Police boss should have informed their subordinates.
Col. Sudue apologized to the lawmakers and promised to commission an investigation into the alleged misbehavior of some of his officers against members of the Legislature.
It can be recalled that Rep. Rep. Yekeh Korlubah and Col. Marvin Sackor, Deputy Inspector General of Police for Operation were engulfed in a major standoff in 2020 when Col. Sackor attempted impounding Rep. Kolubah’s vehicle for carrying a single license plate and using the opposite lane.
Earlier in June 2018, Mr. Oliver Dillon, an Inspector at the Ministry of Transport attempted to impound the vehicles assigned to Rep. Kolubah and Rep. Francis Dopoh (UP, District No. 3, River Gee) after a routine traffic stop for using old license plates. This prompted Plenary of the House to summoned Mr. Dillon along with Transport Minister Samuel Wlue.
Police Inspector General and Transport Minister Wlue were summoned by the House of Representatives owing to the unprecedented waves of road accidents on various highways and to outlined safety measures being put in place to enforce traffic rules and regulations.
Police Inspector Sudue blamed the lack of adequate budgetary support to procure logistics as major impediment to the operations of the police in enforcing the traffic laws.
Minister Wlue also blamed lack of logistics but said the Ministry of Transport was in talks with its partners including the World Bank for support to get logistics.