Investigation into the March 1 scuffle between the Police Support Unit (PSU) and petroleum dealers at the Gbarnga Checkpoint in Bong County. Making the disclosure to this paper on Thursday, the head of the committee, Bong County Attorney Cornelius Wennah who headed the investigation panel, said the entire investigation was concluded at 11’Oclock last Wednesday night.
Attorney Wennah refused to state the nature of the report, but maintained that the findings and recommendations have been forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for the final decision. The Bong County Attorney expressed the belief that the recommendations made in the report were appropriate.
“All I can say is that we were given a mandate and that mandate warranted us to actually look into what transpired and report our findings,” the county attorney maintained, saying they had to be meticulous in their investigation to enable the committee come up with proper findings and recommendations.
He also declined to allude to the fact that they were denying the people of Bong County the opportunity to know what the committee had derived at. The Panel was set up by Police Director Chris Massaquoi during his visit to the county on a fact-finding just a day following the ckash between the police and petroleum sellers at the Gbarnga Checkpoint.
During that visit, Col. Massaquoi told the committee to independently look into the matter to determine the culprits with the appropriate recommendations. On March 1, 2012, a riot ensued in Gbarnga, Bong County between petroleum dealers and units of the PSU assigned in the city. This incidence led to the setting up of road blocks and burning of tires on the main road from Gbarnga to Monrovia.
The angry petroleum vendors were later joined by some residents of Gbarnga and family members to throw stones at the police who were seen very violent in the response, especially following the stoning of the wind shield of a police vehicle. The police reportedly made some violent arrests, placing some of the rioters behind bars.
The PSU officers are alleged to have accused the petro dealers of illegally obtaining the petroleum products the sold. They allegedly took away four hundred drums of fuel and made way with an unknown amount of United States and Liberian Dollars from the petrol dealers.
The Bong County Legislature Caucus, through its Chairman George Mulbah, described the action of the PSU officers as criminal and not representative of a train police. The Caucus threatened a lawsuit against the individual police involved in the unfortunate situation, if the outcome of the investigation was not convincing as it had been in previous investigations involving the police.
The recent situation was the second regarding the harassment of petrol dealers by PSU officers assigned in Gbarnga at the checkpoint. In early January, the traders accused the PSU officers of taking away three drums of petroleum products to their barracks on the Lofa Road.
In the same month, motorcyclists on the Gbarnga Wainsue Road also reported harassments and extortions by PSU officers at check points erected on the Gbarnga-Lofa Highway.
The officers are reported to have abandoned the check points after public outcry on the two major community radio stations in Gbarnga. Reports Papa Morris of Super Bongese Radio in Gbarnga, Bong County.