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TNLA committee summons Paul Mayom over police harassment

Author: Kelly Abale | Published: Thursday, April 2, 2020

A police officer counts "fine" for the car he's leaning against after the traffic officer who impounded it demanded 10,000 SSP for its release in April 2019 at Buluk | Credit | Ayuen Panchol/Eye Radio

The Minister of Interior, Paul Mayom, is expected to appear before the parliamentary defense committee next week over harassment of motorists by traffic police in Juba.

Last week, Noah taxi drivers petitioned the Transitional National Legislative Assembly over the harassment.

The drivers said traffic officers constantly harass them for driving the left-hand door vehicles in the city.

The traffic officers, they said, used this to coerce them to pay bribes.

In the petition, the drivers also questioned the legality of the traffic boss’ 10,000 pound fine.

Other grievances raised by the motorists include constant harassment over logbooks and tinted windows.

“So this are some of the issues which are going to dominate the discussion when the honorable minister of interior appears before the committee of parliament next week,” said Hon. Paul Yoane, chairperson of the Information Committee at the TNLA.

Traffic police have been cracking down on vehicles with tinted windows in an attempt to “fight crimes” and stop motorists from “carrying other people’s wives and daughters”.

However, activists and motorists say the crackdown is a business scheme the traffic department uses to collect money.

On 14 June 2019, the minister of information announced that motorists using vehicles with factory tints are exempted from the order that had earlier banned them.

The revocation came two weeks after the then minister of Interior – Michael Chiengjiek – told the traffic police and other members of the organized forces that those driving vehicles with tinted windows were considered “criminals,” and if anyone refused to stop when ordered, the officers were “free to shoot.”

This directive was described as “irresponsible, dangerous and unlawful” by a parliamentarian and an activist.

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