Charges against 24 Taxi drivers dropped

Ousman Sillah

The police have dropped the two charges of ‘Over pricing’ and ‘Failing to display tariff’ against the 24 taxi drivers who were asked to appear before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court yesterday, 21 December, 2015 for possible arraignment.

According to a close source, who prefers anonymity, the drivers who were charged, accompanied by the ‘chef de garage’ or heads at the Tipper Garage-Banjul Terminal and Serekunda – Banjul Terminal car parks, went to the Banjul police station yesterday at 8 am before proceeding to the court house as told.

“The taxi drivers plying the two routes had decided not to work today (yesterday) in order to show solidarity to their colleagues,” he said.

He said after they were dropped at the station, the two car park heads proceeded to the office of the transport association to inform them about the development.

“The president of the association came there and said he was on another mission and when he was informed about the arrests and charges, he expressed surprise. He told us that he was going to take up the matter with the police at the various levels,” said the source.

He said they told him that they have been to the union but were told by those they met there that they do not know what to do about it.

The source further explained that while they were there, the police were coming in and out and reading out the names of the drivers who were charged and to take note of their presence.

“We were there until after 3pm when the police finally came and told us that the two charges against the drivers are being dropped but warned that they will be monitoring us to see whether we will continue overcharging passengers. They said we should put the fares tariff on display inside our vehicles for passengers to see,” revealed the source.

When the president of the transport association, Mr. Mumine Sey, was contacted on the phone yesterday, he confirmed the dropping of the charges against the 24 taxi drivers who were charged but declined to elaborate.

The drivers were arrested on Wednesday, 16 December, and taken to different police stations in Banjul.

It was reported in this medium that many drivers of small taxi vehicles that ply the Westfield – Banjul route were arrested for alleged overcharging of passengers commuting the Westfield – Banjul route. The drivers also include those who ply the Tipper Garage – Banjul and Tabokoto-Banjul routes as well. They were all eventually charged and granted police bail on Thursday.

They were asked to appear before the Banjul Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 21 December, 2015, but the police decided to drop the charges.