In spite of strict measures by the department of the Road Traffic Directorate (RTD) to reduce traffic accidents in the country, minibus and taxi operators in Karonga continue to flout rules—putting lives of passengers—at risk with the help and knowledge of traffic police officers.
Some of the measures government has put in place to help abate road accidents on the country’s roads include jailing or fining drivers and conductors who defy rules and regulations such as passenger exceeding.
For instance, a driver and conductor whose bus is found carrying passengers who are standing are liable to a two-year jail term while those that commit a passenger exceeding offence are liable to pay a K20 000 fine or serve a five-year jail term.
But instead of effecting the measures, Nyasa Times can reveal that the drivers are pocketing K10 000 from every vehicle embroiled in such crimes.
Minibus drivers said traffic officers “issue receipts” to help them move without restrictions.
“Our traffic officers are not as tough as those from other districts. If you pay them K10 000 you move without any problem, especially after getting a receipt,” said one of the drivers.
A traffic police officer who spoke to Nyasa Times on condition of anonymity said they are “enjoying” and “reaping” from the current regulations.
In his reaction vocal Karonga Youth for Justice and Development (KYJD) executive director, Steve Simusokwe, said “government should discipline” such officers.
Head of traffic police in the district is not yet to comment on the matter, but cases of bribery in Karonga are not novel.
Times and again, police officers in the district have been named in various bribery syndicates including aiding illegal immigrants into the country.