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The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Paul Tawiah Quaye, has ordered investigations into an allegation that some police officers extorted GH¢5O from the Minister of Transport, Alhaji Collins Dauda.
A statement issued and signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the Police Service, Supt. Kwesi Ofori, said preliminary investigations had revealed that the said incident took place about six years ago, when Collins Dauda was returning to Bekwai in the Ashanti Region.
In a follow up interview with The Chronicle, Supt. Kwesi Ofori said despite the time lapse and the fact that Alhaji Dauda was not a Minister of state at the time, the IGP still believes that "crime is crime," hence the decision to investigate the matter, and get to the bottom of it.
According to him, the police was talking to the Minister to assist them in investigating the case, which outcome would be made public.
The Public Affairs Director further told The Chronicle that the Police Intelligence and Professional Standards Bureau (PIPS) had been given the mandate to handle the case.
According to him, for the past two years, the Paul Tawiah Quaye administration had embarked upon an image cleansing campaign aimed at dealing with corrupt officers in the service and their general misconduct.
The Public Affairs Director said about two weeks ago, the IGP reiterated his stance against corruption whilst addressing a parade of officers at the Police Headquarters in Accra. He warned personnel that his administration would not shield any policeman or woman caught in the web of corruption.
The IGP appealed to the public to assist his administration by reporting police personnel who extort money from them, especially on the roads before granting bail to suspects.
The Chronicle reported on Thursday that Alhaji Collins Dauda shocked residents in Kumasi, including the Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP Patrick Timbillah, when he revealed how a police personnel extorted GH¢5O from him, before he was allowed to move his vehicle.
The Minister, who is also the Asutifi South Member of Parliament (MP), and was on his way to Bekwai at the time of the incident, said he was forced to dish out the amount in order to gain safe passage, and to avoid being held up by the security officers.
Collins Dauda, who made the revelation when addressing a meeting with transport stakeholders, said if he had not paid the money, the police would have unnecessarily delayed him, even though he was in a hurry to get to his destination.
The former Lands and Forest Minister said he embarked on the journey with his brother, in his personal Toyota Land Cruiser Prado when the police officers asked them to stop at a point, and ordered his driver to get out of the vehicle.
The Minister said: "When we reached the police point, they stopped my vehicle and instructed the driver to get down, but I realised the driver was keeping long, so I called him and asked what was happening?
"When the driver came, he told me that the police officers were asking him too many questions, and that he suspected that they wanted him to dash them money before they could allow him to go." Collins Dauda explained that because he wanted to ascertain things for himself, he asked his brother to give him GH¢5O, which subsequently he gave to his driver to give to the police officer. The Transport Minister continued his narration: "After my driver gave the money to the police officer, they asked him to move the vehicle, but I instructed him not to move, and I got down to ask the police officer why he collected the money?" Dauda said to his amazement, the police officer told him that he had acted under instruction from his Chief Inspector. The Minister, however, pointed out that the Chief Inspector flatly denied ever instructing his subordinate to collect money.
What worried the Minister was the fact that the police, after taking the bribe from him, allowed a defective vehicle to pass without checking it.
The Minister said what was worrying was that lots of road accidents were happening in this country because some police officers had refused to carry out their professional duties.
"If police officers were to discharge their duties devoid of bribe-taking, and insist that the right thing must be done, a lot of road accidents would be prevented," the Minister said.
He wondered how a police officer could compromise his integrity for a pittance, thereby, putting the lives of many Ghanaians in danger.
Alhaji Dauda also pointed that another major factor that contributed to road accidents in the country was the situation where stationary vehicles were left unattended to on the major highways.
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