October 10, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
Divisional Traffic Officer at the Eastern Police Division in Freetown, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Saidu Kargbo, who also doubles as Acting Regional Traffic Coordinator for Freetown East, has disclosed to Concord Times in an exclusive interview that they have charged 36 drivers to court for running half-way shuttles.
“We have launched an operation called ‘operation take passengers to their destinations.’ We have charged to court drivers on several occasions but the situation still continues. This time around, we are coming down very strong on them in order to stop this menace,” he said.
ASP Kargbo said they have deployed personnel at every intercession where drivers usually run half-way shuttles, adding that anyone caught doing that would be arrested and charged to court.
He promised that the operation would not stop until the menace had been addressed.
“This operation cannot go without sensitisation and we are doing it at most media outlets so that passengers will be aware. Previously, we have not been getting the support of the passengers because whenever we arrest a driver who falls short, they would put up argument in favour of the defaulter. So we were not having evidence to charge drivers to court,” he said.
He said the Police were fed-up with so many criticisms from passengers, but noted that they were the very ones asking drivers to take them to their destinations on two-way fare charges.
He denied allegation that the Police have established checkpoints along the Freetown-Waterloo highway and receive bribes from drivers in order to allow them run half-way shuttles.
“They are not checkpoints but interception and crossing points and the Police are there to control traffic for both pedestrians and drivers so as to get free-flow of traffic in those areas. I’m not aware of any Police officer within my area of operations receiving bribes from drivers. If anyone has an evidence, let us get it and we will take the necessary action against that officer,” he said.
When asked about the expectation of the public vis-à-vis the operation, ASP Kargbo said that within the shortest possible time, everything would return to normal.
“I want the vehicle owners who will be attempting to bribe the Police for their drivers to run half-way trips to know that they would be committing an offence and they would be handed over to the Anti-Corruption Commission,” he cautioned.
He said traffic officers would be patrolling all motor parks within Freetown and Waterloo to ensure that passengers are taken to their right destinations.
He also appealed to passengers to be going to the right lorry parks where they would access vehicles that would take them to their respective destinations.