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$1 Million Machines Left To Rust At DVLA   
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The Herald’s ongoing investigations, at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), reveal massive fraud, mismanagement and a dubious scheme to incapacitate it (DVLA) and deliver its operations, which generate millions of cedis for the government in to the hands of some few private people.

It has discovered that the Road Transport Ministry under the ministerial direction of Dr. Richard Anane, during the past government headed by ex-President J.A. Kufuor, procured faulty equipment, estimated to be running into $1 million, for the DVLA.

The equipment, Climb Lift, is a machine designed to lift vehicles up for examination of their under parts. These equipments said to have been procured in 2002 arrived in Ghana in 2005 and were distributed to the ten regions where DVLA has its offices. The Herald is told that the machines are faulty and since their arrival have never been used.

Moreover, for it to be used, a base is required for a climb lift to stand on before performing its function. The Herald has gathered that at all the regions where the DVLA is, there are pits constructed for inspecting the under parts of vehicles, and that bases have not been constructed for climb lifts.

So therefore these lifts in addition to being faulty and redundant, in most of the cases, have been left in the open at the mercy of the weather. A typical example is the ones that can be seen on the premises of the DVLA near the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.

When questioned why the machines were out in the open, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the DVLA, Mr. Justice Amegashie directed this paper to Mr. Vicent Fiati, the Greater Accra Regional Director of the DVLA. According to Mr. Fiati, the machines were outside there before he took appointment as the Regional Director.

Mr. Joe Osei Wusu, independent Member of Parliament (MP) for Ashanti Betwai and former CEO of the DVLA told this paper that when he took delivery of the machines, he had them packed in a garage at the DVLA. However, a look around the DVLA premises did not reveal any garage that could have housed the machines.

Joe Osei Wusu said the machines were procured under a World Bank programme dubbed Road Sector Development Programme (RSDP) as part of the programme to equip the DVLA. He said when the machines arrived they could not be installed at the DVLA in Accra and any of the DVLA offices in the country because of the peculiar requirements.

He explained that there were pits already in all the regions serving the purpose for which the Climb Lifts were procured so the machines had no immediate use. He said that at the time he was leaving office in 2008, a government policy to build DVLA offices in three districts every year, where such equipment could be installed, was enacted. “As to what happened to that policy, I don’t know”, he told The Herald.

However, Mr. Amegashie, the current CEO of the DVLA, implied that his predecessor was not being frank with the safe-keeping of the equipment, when The Herald questioned him on why the machines were left outside in the open at the mercy of the weather.

The Herald’s probing also revealed that other obsolete machines such as break-testing machines, headlamp testers had been procured and are not being used. The headlamp testing has been given to a private company called S. Class. The pits at the DVLA are not befitting of a vehicle inspection organization that ranks as third in collecting revenue for the government, after Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Meanwhile there is growing disquiet among workers at the DVLA on the decision to privatise vehicle inspection. Through the DVLA does not charge for vehicle inspection except for the stickers that certify the roadworthiness of a vehicle, for which the DVLA makes a lot of money, there is the apprehension that it is being stripped gradually of all its activities.

Eye-testing has been given to a private company, the sales of number plates and learner plates have also gone to private individuals including the supply of Highway Code Booklet, except for the cost of written test, and Driver License Application Form F. The DVLA, The Herald has gathered, ahs for all these years not being resourced in any way.

Documentations and record-keeping processes are still not computerized, making administration cumbersome and tracking down of people who would want to indulge in car registering and licensing malpractices, very difficult. Everything points to incapacitating the DVLA and handing it over to private individuals to make money. Privatization of vehicle inspection, to many, is the more to strip the DVLA of its function.

As announced by the sector minister, Collins Danda recently, some private garages were to commence vehicle inspection at a fee and then pay a commission to the DVLA. Meanwhile for all these years the DVLA has inspected vehicles and continue to inspect vehicles without charging, except for the road worthiness certificate issued as road-user fee.

When The Herald contacted Mr. Amegashie on why the DVLA should give out a revenue generating source to private individuals, he said the DVLA was enjoined by Act 569 to license and regulate private garages to undertake vehicle testing. Mr. George Ackom, Director of Vehicle Inspection and Registration told this paper that the DVLA did not have the resources to embark upon proper vehicle inspection, hence the engagement of private garages.

He said the DVLA would in the future develop the resources to do the inspection alongside the private garages. According to him the activities of the private garages would be networked to the DVLA based on which it can certify vehicles that have been passed as roadworthy by the private garages.

Meanwhile, there are indications that personnel at the DVLA have not been provided with any technical expertise to be able to approve of the activities of the garage. One reason for which the private garages are being engaged is the excuse that rickety vehicles that are not roadworthy constitute the main reason for the spate of road accidents in the country.

However, Mr. Ackom told this paper that the main cause for road accidents is driver attitude not the roadworthiness of vehicles as is being touted. “Road worthiness of a vehicle cannot be the main reason for accidents on our roads otherwise the president’s convoy will not record any accident,” an observer remarked.

When the Minister of Roads and Highways was contacted on why DVLA could not be resourced and decentralized for it to carry out its mandate, but rather ceding part of its responsibility to private individuals, he said the DVLA by the law enacting it could not use money it has generated to build its capacity and be able to meet the demands of vehicle inspection.

Meanwhile on his assumption of office, the minister has not visited the DVLA to accustom himself with operations at the place. Rather, he had gone round the private garages to ascertain the work they had put into the preparation to start vehicle inspection. Attempts by the paper to reach Dr. Anane for his role in the procurement of climb lifts proved futile.
Source: The Herald/Sedi Bansah

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