Spot fines scam unearthed

Source: Spot fines scam unearthed – Sunday News Jun 26, 2016

Vusumuzi Dube, Sunday News Reporter
THE charging of spot fines by traffic police officers has once again come under the spotlight with the Auditor-General’s office revealing that there were serious inconsistencies on the charging of spot fines by the police.

According to the 2015 annual report by the Auditor-General, Mrs Mildred Chiri, the inconsistencies were noted at 10 traffic police depots in the country.

She noted that these discrepancies were the reason behind the lack of public confidence in the traffic policing system.

Despite the controversy surrounding the collection of spot fines in the country, with a number of court cases challenging its legality, traffic police have continued to demand that motorists pay the fines or risk having their vehicles impounded.

This comes in the backdrop announcement by Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo last month that traffic police officers will soon stop collecting fines for traffic offences in cash at roadblocks as this drives corruption.

However, in her review of the police’s accounts and activities, Mrs Chisi noted that 10 traffic police’s depots — inclusive of four in Matabeleland region — were discovered to have inconsistences in the charging of the spot fines, where the officers were charging above or below the prescribed levels.

“Contrary to the national deposit fines schedule which requires that officers charge fines as prescribed therein, I noted that there were inconsistencies in the charging of fines at Bulawayo Traffic West, Hwange, Beitbridge Urban, Victoria Falls, Chinhoyi, Karoi Central and Chegutu Traffic Police Stations as the officers were receipting fines above or below the prescribed levels,” reads part of the report.

Mrs Chiri, in her report, revealed that this was not the first time that they had raised the anomaly but it had also been included in the 2014 annual audit.

She noted that the implication of this irregularity was that it negatively affected service delivery and public confidence in the police force.

In response to the findings of the Auditor-General, the police noted that; “The issue has been addressed through printing and distribution of 6 000 reference copies. Distribution is in progress.”

Still on the same issue the Auditor-General revealed that the police were once again caught on the wrong side of the law as they were receipting more than one offence on one ticket.

Mrs Chiri revealed that the matter was once again raised in her previous report but had seemingly been ignored by the police.
Only traffic police depots in the Matabeleland region were caught offside by the AG in this irregularity.

“Police officers are required to issue a ticket on each offence which must not exceed level three ($20). However, I noted that Bulawayo Traffic West, Victoria Falls and Plumtree Traffic police stations were receipting more than one offence on one receipt resulting in fines being charged exceeding $20 despite that the issue was raised in my prior year audit,” reads part of the report.

In response the police, while acknowledging the recommendations, instead noted that the statutory requirement was silent on the number of offences to be receipted on one admission of guilt form.

“The audit observation has been noted. The position is that police should not accept fines exceeding level three per each traffic offence, a position which the organisation is conversant with.

“The statutory requirement is silent on the number of offences/charges to be receipted on one admission of guilt form (Z69J receipt). However, in the interest of reaching common ground, police have been directed to adhere to the recommendations,” responded the police officials.

Last month, Dr Chombo revealed that traffic police officers will soon stop collecting fines for traffic offences in cash at roadblocks to curb corruption in the force.

He said the Government was working on mechanisms to ensure fines were paid through an electronic system.

Dr Chombo also revealed that about 320 police officers were fired from the force last year for various offences bordering on abuse of office through corrupt activities.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 2
  • comment-avatar
    TJINGABABILI 6 years ago

    Bloody Thieves they are. Just like their….

  • comment-avatar

    Good to know that Cde Chombo confirms his awareness of the corruption within ZRP.But how soon is soon .Because this is not the first time this issue had been debated on higher levels yet it seems the matter is being met with serious bureaucracy. Last time the Commissioner of Taxes had a proposal that revenue collected from police fines should be remitted to ZIMRA but it did not go through.The bottom line is the soon that Cde Chombo is talking about is not a promise and maybe its just what he knows that its what people want and as a politician he knows very well how to sweet tongue the public. I dont think he is serious .Somebody is benefitting out of it and the authorities that be wants the ZRP corruption to continue.