Operatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has apprehended an alleged serial impersonator for collecting N140,000 from owners of vehicles impounded for traffic infractions.
The vehicles were impounded by LASTMA.
The Director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA, Mr Taofiq Adebayo confirmed the development in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos.
Adebayo said the suspect was apprehended by the monitoring and surveillance team of the agency at Oshodi area of the state.
He added that the suspect was apprehended after the agency received complaints of extortions from owners of inter-state commercial buses, impounded and ticketed for traffic infractions around Moshalasi by Alaka area of Surulere.
Adebayo explained that investigations conducted, revealed that the suspect, Femi Adegbemi, had been collecting huge amounts of money from innocent owners of vehicles impounded by LASTMA officials during enforcement operations.
“The arrested suspect collected N140,000 from owners/drivers by promising to help them get their impounded vehicles released from the agency’s custody.
“It is disheartening getting complaints from road users, particularly owners of impounded vehicles on activities of these unscrupulous elements impersonating and extorting money from them.
“By such acts, they are tarnishing the image of the agency before the public,” he said.
Commenting, the General Manager of LASTMA, Mr Bakare-Oki Olalekan warned the public to be wary of such unscrupulous elements.
He stated that the agency operated a cashless policy, and apprehended violators were often charged to court via a ‘Referral Notice’ issued to them.
He confirmed that more surveillance/monitoring personnel had been strategically deployed to hunt for the unscrupulous elements, duping innocent motoring public across the state.
The 56 years old suspect, Adegbemi, was said to have confessed to the crime.
“He confessed that he collected N140,000 from owners of the impounded inter-state commercial vehicles.
“Adegbemi who also confirmed to be living at No. 9, Anifowose Street, Somolu, confessed further to be making an average of N250,000 on weekly basis from the illegal deal with his other colleagues.
“He, however, promised to turn a new leaf if let off the hook by the state government.”
Meanwhile, the Director, Legal Department, LASTMA, Mr Kehinde Akerele disclosed that the suspect would be immediately charged to court to serve as deterrent to others. (NAN)