SENATE - The Senate has said that the heavy penalties imposed on traffic offenders may provide room for the traffic police unit to be exposed to corruption.
Senator Valens Munyabagisha, who heads the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security, presented a report that, points out loopholes that may impact negatively on service delivery on Rwanda’s roads.
“The heaviness of the penalties imposed on traffic offenders is one of the reasons why the Traffic Police Unit is facing corruption. “Why would someone want to pay Rwf 50,000 when he can immediately part with Rwf 20,000 and continue with his or her work?” The report questioned.
It follows 2008 findings by the Office of the Ombudsman that placed the Traffic Police at the top of institutions with corruption tendencies followed closely by the judiciary.
The government was also asked to amend the traffic laws because some offences are lighter than the penalties imposed on them.
Munyabagisha, pointed out a set of new offences that were not originally regarded as crimes that impose a fine of Rwf 25,000 on the offender contrary to the law that says the fine shouldn’t exceed Rwf 18,000.
The offences include littering, failing to cover goods or items loaded on a truck, tinted windows, driving during ‘Umuganda’ and pollution to the environment from old vehicles.
The Senator said that according to the law, driving during ‘Umuganda’ is an offense that may be corrected by the residents’ decision to have the offender join the rest immediately in the community work or charging the offender Frw 5.000. This, according to the report, goes against the Traffic Police fine of Frw 25,000.
The report also says that the traffic police seem to be keen on collecting revenue for the government, rather than educating and disciplining road users.
In 2008 alone, the Traffic Police Unit made slightly over Rwf1.3bn from traffic offenses and services it offers. In the first half of this year, the department had made approximately Rwf814m.
The Senate also wants the government to make traffic rules part of the national curricular in both primary and secondary schools.