HRW: Liberian Police Corrupt

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Now it is official. Just a day after my post on corruption, HRW follows me and publishes a 64p-report. I must admit, they cover more than just my single experience. Some interesting picks from their report:

Elite armed units, such as the Police Support Unit, were frequently cited for violent abuses.

I wrote about this on my old blog (still in German). It is sad, yet true. The police is not here to help you. They are the real rogues. Still today, this issue is not settled, and Totota citizens have received only a fraction of the money that was stolen from them.

TototaRevoltThus it is not unexpected, that a recent UN assessment of the LNPF finds it unprepared to take over the country in terms of security.

HRW further states, that Liberia’s anticorruption institutions, which should keep police corruption in check, are weak. Surprisingly, the new anti corruption law had passed the House of Representatives earlier this year, but failed in the Senate. Is this a hint to be taken serious?

Extortion by the police frustrates the attempts of low-income people to rebuild their lives

For all Liberians, this is both a serious problem and something you have to adjust to. Taxi drivers profit from being able to bribe policemen to let them transport nine passengers in a Nissan Primera. Charcoal pickups move 3to of coal in one load, maximizing profit – through bribing the police. Police officers told me in person, they take turns at the Salala checkpoint (Totota officers: Thursday), so everybody can benefit. This appears like organized crime.

People threaten their neighbours by mentioning the police, as happened to one of my colleagues: He was asked by his neighbour to help him move a wheelbarrow with sand. Unfortunately, the wheel bursted. The neighbour, looking for someone to blame, chose my colleague and said: “Repair it or I carry you to the police.” There is so much to be bitter about.

So finally, for all those trying to establish a business, trying to move on, trying to be more than self-sustaining, trying to make something out of their lives – corruption among all, police and government, and even most other people, is the major obstacle.

The survey, which seriously highlights corrupt practices here, indicates that corruption is a widespread phenomenon in Liberia.

Quoted from this article (however – with questionable sources), more is added to the corruption sermon: The New Dawn (of course, as all the others, one of Liberia’s leading newspapers) publishes about a joint survey of Afro Barometer and IREDD (Institute for Research and Democratic Development), concluding that 88% of all Government officials are corrupt. I’d be anxious to see their method, but – the 88% look pretty good!

The IREDD seems to be a Liberian research institute, as far as C-R knows. They have a website, but nothing on it. The Afro Barometer, however, looks professional. Still, I couldn’t find this report. Who knows if it was made up by the press. Wouldn’t be surprising!

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