The Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA), on Tuesday, said it arrested a 56-year-old fake operative, Femi Adegbemi, for extorting N140,000 from owners of vehicles impounded for traffic infractions by the Agency.
In a press statement by the director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment, Adebayo Taofiq, he said the suspect was apprehended by the monitoring and surveillance team of the agency at Oshodi area of Lagos.
According to him, the suspect was apprehended after the agency received complaints of extortion from owners of inter-state commercial buses impounded and ticketed for traffic infractions around Moshalasi by Alaka area of Surulere.
He, however, disclosed that investigations conducted revealed that the arrested suspect had been collecting huge amounts of money from the unsuspecting 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 custody of Agency.
“It is disheartening getting complaints from road users particularly owners of impounded vehicles on activities of these unscrupulous elements impersonating and extorting money from different owners of impounded vehicles thereby tarnishing the good image of the Agency before the public,” Taofiq stated.
The General Manager of LASTMA, Mr. Bakare-Oki Olalekan, warned the general public to be wary of unscrupulous elements, stating that the agency operates a cashless policy as any violator apprehended is charged to Court via a ‘Referral Notice’ issued to the violator.
He confirmed that more surveillance and monitoring personnel have been strategically deployed to hunt for unscrupulous elements duping innocent motoring public across the State.
The arrested suspect also confessed to have collected N140,000 from owners of the impounded inter-state commercial vehicles.
Adegbemi further confessed to be making average of N250,000 on weekly basis from the illegal deal with his other accomplices.
He, however, promised to turn a new leaf if left off the hook by the government.
Meanwhile, the Director, Legal Department, LASTMA, Barr. Akerele Kehinde, disclosed that the suspect would be immediately charged to court to serve as deterrence to other would-be offenders.