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Liberia news

Stolen vehicle entangles Rep. Gray

It is becoming clear from police officials that Montserrado County Representative Moses Acarous Gray may not be spared from a criminal investigation surrounding one of four cars allegedly stolen from the United States.

The car was allegedly carrying his official license plate “HOR 32” at the time of its impoundment. “And so, whether you wanted to try it; whether you never wanted to try it. And in fact, to see a plate on a vehicle that is not registered, it means that Gray and others wanted to invade taxes. It’s criminal,”

Deputy Commissioner of Police Sam Collins told an interview with this paper on Wednesday, 18 May at the Liberian National Police Headquarters. Rep. Gray is an executive of the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change or CDC former footballer-turned politician, Senator George M. Weah of Montserrado County. Senator Weah is also a 2017 presidential hopeful who is currently battling a child support case through his lawyer in the U.S.

According to DCP Collins, Rep. Gray ought to give statements to the police following initial calls already made to him by the latter. Collins also added that he (Gray) has been informed by the acting chief of CSD that he would place a call to Rep. Gray. “Yes, yes, it could also raise … and the law says that one could go in jail for unspecified time and pay certain amount of money into the covers of the government because it means that it undermines revenues collection,” DCP Collins said further.

The NewDawn newspaper also gathered from police on Wednesday, 18 May that on March 21 this year, the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia officially wrote Liberia’s Police Director Chris Massaquoi, seeking his officers’ assistance in tracking and impounding stolen vehicles. The U.S. communication, authorized by its Monrovia Embassy’s contact person and Acting Regional Security Officer Omar Facuse, particularly sought the assistance of the Liberian Police’s Crimes Services Division or CSD to facilitate a special investigation involving “stolen vehicles from the United States that are being brought to Liberia …”

The communication, which police officials said they could not allow to be photocopied by the press, claimed that the stolen vehicles were currently being sold at some used cars centers. The U.S. Embassy expressed the belief that the operation would enable “the arrest and subsequent prosecution of individuals who are involved in this transnational crime …”

The U.S. Embassy also believed that by arresting and prosecuting the individuals, it would create deterrence in “these criminal acts.”

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When contacted at the Liberia National Police or LNP Headquarters on Wednesday afternoon, 18 May, the Deputy Commissioner of Police Sam Collins confirmed the report and old journalists that Rep. Gray was a person of interest in the matter at hand. “No, our interest right now is not whether Acarous has paid money for this car; that is not our interest. That is not our interest. Our interest is to recover a stolen vehicle. But what interest us again is

that it has an honorable man license plate on it. And there is something in the law that say buyer be aware,” said DCP Collins.

Based on the request by the U.S., Mr. Co

lins indicated that the Police Director, Mr. Massaquoi instructed Police Chief of Intelligence or 106 to begin investigating – something, he said, started since March 21 up to now. He said the search has been ongoing until Tuesday, 17 May, when police
saw a vehicle bearing plate number HOR 32 driven by suspect Musa Fofana – a 24 year-old man arrested on Benson Street in Monrovia.

DCP Collins said suspect Fofana, whom he claimed, is a friend of Rep. Gray, allegedly told the police inquiry that he purchased the Range Rover Jeep from one Llyod Smith at an alleged paid price of
US$15,000.00 “So, where … Hon. Gray is drawn in is that his official plate was seen on the vehicle. so … the car was impounded. It’s one of the four that we are looking for. And the search for the balance three continues until we can get those three cars,” he added.

At the time of the interview on Wednesday, Mr. Collins said the driver of the alleged stolen vehicle, Mr. Fofana, was in police custody where he had already spent his first night.

Mr. Collins claimed that police gathered from Fofana that the vehicle has been under his control for some time unregistered, saying further to this paper that Rep. Gray was a friend to driver Fofana “like any one of us here.”

He (Fofana) could be released on Tuesday “because there are other cars in his possession” needed by the police that he allegedly “failed to bring.”

Regarding Rep. Gray’s claims that he was being pursued due to his criticism of President Sirleaf, Mr. Collins noted that whether he liked President or not, it was his own prerogative and not that of the

Earlier on Wednesday, Rep. Gray told a local radio talk show on Fabric FM 101.1 that because his license plate was seen on the vehicle by police, they began allegedly tailing it in an attempt to impound it
whenever he was in.

“They accused me of buying a stolen vehicle because I criticized the President.” “So, because they saw the plate on that car, and most likely because they had a tip that that vehicle was a stolen vehicle, and they thought they would have arrested the vehicle with me in that vehicle to say that the man stole a vehicle under that canopy because I criticize the President,” he said on the live radio show on Wednesday morning.

He, however , said he welcomed police investigation, and expressed the need for the matter to be investigated, vowing to battle the regime of President Sirleaf intellectually.

By Winston W. Parley 

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