Uniformed policemen, who were caught on camera in the Ejisu fuel tanker raid incident, were said to be more interested in protecting their identities than protecting life and property, according to fresh information gathered by The Chronicle.
The owner of the tanker, Mr. Eric Nana Osei told The Chronicle that he stood a few metres away from the accident scene and watched with dismay a number of policemen in uniform competing with residents near the accident scene to siphon all the 36,000 litres of diesel, valued at GH¢71,000.
Nana Osei said as many as six policemen rushed on him, when he attempted to take pictures of the near market scene created by the maraudining policemen and local resident competing among themselves to steal fuel from the fallen tanker.
“I identified myself as the owner of the tanker, and told the police: ‘You Thieves! How could I report this accident to police officers who are more interested in stealing the fuel in the fallen tanker than safeguarding the accident scene?”
According to the owner of the tanker, the marauding policemen were so incensed by his decision to capture the evidence of the thievery on his mobile phone, that they threatened him and demanded to know who gave him (owner) the authority to take the pictures.
Mr. Osei said he had already taken to friends via ‘whats-up’ and twitter applications on his phone as a back-up, sensing that the policemen were bent on taking the evidence from him.
“I did so, so that at least, when they succeed in taking my phone from me and destroying the evidence, my friends will still have copies,” Nana Osei told The Chronicle.
Ironically, they had insisted that that he, the tanker owner, should have reported the accident to them, rather than take pictures.
In his defence, Nana Osei said he told the men in uniform that on the evidence of the policemen themselves leading the way in siphoning the fuel from the fallen tanker, he was not well disposed to reporting the accident to them.
“How do you expect me to report to the same police who are involved in this theft,” Nana Osei retorted.
Narrating his ordeal to The Chronicle, Nana Osei said when he got to the accident scene, he had the shock of his life when he saw with his naked eyes that the police, who were supposed to educate the locals on the risk they were putting themselves in by scoping fuel from an accident tanker, were themselves seriously involved in the illegal and very dangerous act.
He told this paper that on arriving at the scene, he had to watch from a distance, knowing that the tanker could have exploded at any point in time.
Although there have been no report off fatalities in the accident, the owner of the tanker, The Chronicle has learnt, lost all 36,000 litres of diesel to the police officers and marauding local residents.
COP Rose Bio Atenga, Director General of Administration of the Ghana Police Service, told The Chronicle that the police administration had ordered a high level enquiry into the circumstances under which the police officers in question had brought the police administration and policing as a profession into disrepute.
“It has come to our notice [and] we have directed that the case should be investigated,” she told this paper.
She said the police profession was guided by rules and regulations, and all persons who go contrary to these rules and regulations, must be prepared to face the music.
“We are not above the law, so the law will take its course,” the Director General of Administration stated.
We Went To Safeguard Accident Scene – Police
The Police Administration has noted with disappointment the reported involvement of some personnel of the Ejisu Police in the siphoning of fuel from an accident fuel tanker on Friday 19th April, 2013.
It is unfortunate that rather than protecting lives and property by securing the scene, the said personnel are reported to be taking part in the siphoning of the fuel.
The police condemn any such behaviour, if that was the case.
On the other hand, a police report indicates that police officers rather put measures in place to prevent people from rushing for the fuel, realizing that the situation could degenerate into a disaster, considering the combustible nature of fuel.
This notwithstanding, the Police Administration has already initiated investigations into the incident, with the view to unraveling the fact of the matter, and applying the appropriate sanctions, where necessary.