Chief Executive Officer of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA,) Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, on Thursday, December 5, 2013 ordered the arrest of an task-force officers at the Kaneshie branch, Mr. Philip Adei, who was caught in the full glare of the public extorting monies from hawkers in order to allow them sell on the pavements at the Kaneshie market area.
The arrest was made by a police together with some AMA security on the Kaneshie footbridge.
The said incident occurred when Dr. Vanderpuije and some officials of Department of Urban Roads were returning from a tour of some areas in the metropolis.
Dr. Vanderpuije was amazed to see the AMA task-force officer on duty whilst hawkers were busy displaying their wares on the pavements.
According to Dr. Vanderpuije, he felt that the officer might be involved in extorting monies from the hawkers.
He stressed that the constant defiance of the Assembly’s by-laws stems from the fact that some dishonest task-force personnel extort moneys from the hawkers and allow them sell on the streets in the city.
Against this background, the suspect, Adei was arrested on the footbridge in the public full glare of the public while extorting moneys from hawkers.
But, Today’s sources indicated that the leader of the task force in charge of the two Kaneshie footbridges, whose name was only given as Alhaji, ordered his subordinates to be demand GH¢5.00 each daily from hawkers and allow them to sell.
Although Alhaji was present at the scene, sources close to AMA task-force personnel at the Kaneshie branch told Today that they were surprised to see that the team, who did the arrest, including the head of Security task force of the AMA, Chief Okine, failed to arrest Alhaji but rather Mr. Adei.
Again, Today’s sources further indicated that some officials at the AMA headquarters have been benefitting from the daily contributions hawkers pay to Alhaji, making the AMA task force personnel so feeble to expose what Alhaji was doing.
The sources told Today that some drivers of Ghana Private Road Transport Union at Kaneshie and hawkers, a couple of weeks ago, descended heavily on the AMA taskforce personnel at the Kaneshie branch for demanding all sorts of tolls from them.
The drivers claim when they park at the bus stop to pick passengers or stop for passengers to alight, the task force personnel clamp the tires of their vehicles and issue traffic tickets as a penalty for unauthorized parking.
According to the drivers, the AMA taskforce personnel at the Kaneshie branch were disturbing and denying them of their peace to work in the station.
These aggrieved drivers complained that, the monies extorted from them are not used for its purpose.
When Today contacted Chief Okine on the concerns raised by the drivers, he refused to comment but assured that the Assembly will conduct an investigation into the matter and order the arrest of Alhaji and his accomplices if the allegations are found to be true.
He then called on members of the task force who are engaged in any acts of extortion to refrain from it.
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