Liberia’s Police Inspector General Marc AmblardPolice Inspector General Marc Amblard Wednesday (July 7) admitted to public claims that some traffic officers are seriously corrupt, but warned that those caught will face harsh penalties.  Mr. Amblard said he is currently investigating one of such cases, and he would release the outcome next week with the appropriate penalty.

“Let me say this. There are cases of compromise [among traffic police officers],” Mr. Amblard said Wednesday, when he addressed journalists at the headquarters of the UN in Monrovia.

“If I tell you that I am not aware that traffic officers issue tickets but compromise and take the money and let the driver go, then I’m not saying the truth… You know I won’t do that,” asserted. 

The Inspector General was responding to question posed by this writer on claims from the driving public and commuters that traffic officers were jabbing violators (drivers) with issuance of tickets, but with the intent of extorting money from them instead of issuing the tickets for the alleged violations. 

For instance, according to a commercial driver Jerry Tokpah (license plate number withheld), who plies the Somalia Drive, police officers threaten them with at least US$50 tickets, but in actuality they want between L$100 and L$500 to be let go. 

“This has come to my attention…please take note, because I have a specific case that I am presently looking into and an action will be taken,” the Police Chief said, adding “But I don’t want to go deep into it right now.” 

“They take the money and compromise the violation and let the drivers go…. It is unprofessional and will not be tolerated,” the Police Chief said in a serious tone. 

He however attributed some of these situations to the low salaries and benefits of the officers and the responsibilities that they have at home, while rendering what he called sacrificial services to that state and humanity. 

He called for a better welfare for security officers. 

“Generally, we want to ensure that our officers are properly compensated, with penalties for compromise, to perform up to standard,” he noted. 

Despite these challenges, Mr. Amblard said it doesn’t give officers the right to compromise their professional ethics. “They are trained officers, they know the law and must abide by it,” he added. 

Last year the Chairperson of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, Cllr. Frances Johnson Morris criticized the introduction of issuance of tickets to traffic-violating drivers by police as a new form of corruption. 

She alarmed that though the issuing of ticket to traffic violators had good intent, police officers were abusing it. 

But Inspector General Amblard said the ticketing of traffic violators was making impact and it was generation money. 

“The facts and statistics are there… but there are compromises by traffic officers…and we are addressing the situation.