The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) has been dragged to court for failing in its duty to protect road users and issuing driver’s licenses to unqualified and incompetent applicants.
Ace investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, filed the application for judicial review at the Fast Track High Court, based on his recent undercover expose, SOULTAKERS, which showed officials of the DVLA engaged in illegal acts of bribe taking and collusion to subvert the license acquisition process.
Anas is represented by CrowellGray LLP, a law firm in Ghana. Speaking to the New Crusading GUIDE, Lawyer Kissi Agyabeng, counsel for plaintiff in the case and Managing Partner of Cromwell Gray LLP, said this is a public interest case which has been filed on behalf of all Ghanaians.
“As a public institution, the DVLA owes Ghanaians an explanation for the findings that were revealed in the undercover investigations carried out by Anas. We want them to assure Ghanaians that licenses will not just be given to anybody who has the money to pay.”
The reliefs being sought include a declaration that the DVLA owes a duty to the general public and road users in particular to promote good driving standards by ensuring that only qualified and competent applicants are issued with driver’s licenses.
A copy of the application, obtained by the New Crusading GUIDE indicates that the DVLA must declare to Ghanaians that it has breached and continues to breach its duties and responsibilities, which it owes to the general public and road users in particular by failing to strictly enforce the provisions of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority Act, 1999 (Act 569) and the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (LI 2180) through its acts and by its illegal and wrongful neglect of its statutory obligatory duties by issuing driver’s licenses to unqualified and incompetent applicants.
In an affidavit accompanying the application, the applicant said in pursuance of its mandate, the respondent was required, by the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (LI 2180), to ensure that no person was issued with a driver’s licence except where the person had undergone a medical examination prescribed by the respondent, a theoretical and practical driving test, in-traffic test and an eye test.
The affidavit said focused on the findings of the expose, showing areas in which the DVLA had compromised its self and the general safety of all Ghanaians. It indicates that the pre-conditions for the issuance of a driver’s licence were intended to establish the physical fitness of the applicant and ascertain his driving ability and competence in assuring the safety of road users.
The affidavit further adds that those pre-conditions for the issuance of a driver’s licence were not optional and the respondent did not have any discretion about them, since it had been obliged by Act 569 to ensure strict compliance with the requirements.
Explaining further, counsel for the plaintiff, Kissi Ajabeng said he is seeking on behalf of his client, an order in the nature of mandamus to compel the respondent to perform its obligatory statutory duties by ensuring strict compliance with the law governing the licensing of drivers of motor vehicles.
“DVLA has an obligation by law to prominently display the approved fees for the issuance of a driver’s license in all its offices and those of its agents where licenses were issued”, said Kissi Ajabeng, Managing Partner for CromwellGray LLP.
“As you can see in Mr. Anas findings, it is clear that officers of the DVLA repeatedly and on a large scale issued driver’s licences to applicants without taking the applicants through the mandatory statutory procedures, as well as took huge sums of money from them by way of bribes to ensure an unlawful fast-track processing of licences.”
Among other things, the affidavit states that the system of issuance and renewal of driver’s licences institutionalised by the DVLA was so alarmingly lax that licences were issued to blind persons, physically disabled persons, persons of unsound mind, persons who could neither read nor understand road signs, and minors.
“By tacitly permitting its officers to unlawfully and illegally issue driver’s licences to unqualified and incompetent applicants, the respondent has violated and is violating the mandatory provisions of Act 569 and LI 2180 by failing to strictly enforce the law governing the issuance and renewal of driver’s licences,” the affidavit said.
It said the actions and omissions of the respondent were endangering the collective security of the public and road users and also defeating the purpose and object of Act 569 and LI 2180.
Meanwhile, the DVLA is preparing to file its defense to the application by filed by CromwellGray LLP on behalf of Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Source: The New Crusading Guide
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