DRTSS under probe over security paper leakages

The Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Public Works is investigating the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) over the leakage of its security papers on the market which are used for printing vehicle documents such as Certificate of Fitness (CoF).

The investigation comes after Weekend Nation published a series of stories in July and September this year outlining how some agents, also known as ‘dobadoba’, are illegally cashing in on the classified documents on the open market.

Hajat: It is a good move but they should have involved CSO


In its undercover investigation, the Weekend Nation obtained a fake CoF from a parallel office outside the DRTSS system in Blantyre in July and two months later, the paper also obtained a fake bluebook.

In an interview on Wednesday, the committee’s chairperson Victor Mbewe said they summoned directors of DRTSS to hear their side of the story before starting the investigations.

He said the findings of the investigation will be made available to the public this month.

“The committee was there [at Blantyre DRTSS] last week to check and find out what exactly happened on this security paper issue, and the committee hasn’t yet finalised its findings. In due time, we will come up with a comprehensive report, possibly mid-November,” said Mbewe.

He further said the committee is yet to verify the custodian of the security papers and the printer to establish the loopholes.

Commenting on the committee’s action, Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) executive director Rafik Hajat commended the parliamentarians for the investigation.

He, however, said the committee could have also involved civil society organisations (CSOs) in probing the matter.

“This is a very good development, but they need technical assistants and they need to join hands with the civil society in doing an in-depth investigation. We are tired of having commission of inquiries whose reports yield nothing and are just a waste of time are resources,” said Hajat.

In recent years, DRTSS has proved to be a fertile ground for fraudulent activities despite several reforms currently being implemented in the public service.

In 2009, the Anti-Corruption Bureau launched investigations that led to the arrest of some officials at the DRTSS, formerly called Road Traffic Directorate (RTD) following a Weekend Nation undercover investigation which exposed similar rot. n

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