Ministry of Transport and Public Works has interdicted four Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) senior officers for alleged misconduct.
The ministry’s spokesperson Andrew Mthiko in a written response on Wednesday confirmed the development, saying they have since launched an investigation into the alleged misconduct.
He said: “The officers are interdicted to pave the way for investigations on the suspected misconduct. As the matters are under investigation, it will not be in order to divulge details to the public. The officers were communicated of the interdiction for misconduct through letters.”
Mthiko said the ministry has exercised its action in accordance with the Malawi Public Service Commission Regulations (MPSR) (PSCR) 41(2) and the Malawi Public Service (1994) Code of Conduct and Ethics.
But sources within DRTSS said the four senior officers were interdicted following their involvement in issuance of vehicle ownership papers through corrupt ways.
The sources said the officers were receiving some payment to let individuals bypass the DRTSS system when processing vehicle ownership papers.
When contacted, DRTSS spokesperson Angelina Makwecha declined to comment, saying the matter is being handled by the ministry.
In 2017, an investigation our sister paper Weekend Nation conducted revealed loopholes in the change of vehicle ownership documents and acquisition of certificates of fitness, among others, with motorists processing the documents through corrupt ways.
But Mthiko said the ministry has put in place measures to end corruption at DRTSS.
He cited an exercise by the ministry in 2018 to develop a Corruption and Fraud Prevention Policy as well as Clients’ Service Charter for DRTSS to promote good governance.
Mthiko said to complement the policy, the ministry introduced mandatory uniform and name tags for all road traffic staff, installed 24 hours CCTV at all DRTSS service centres, engaged in sensitisation of the public on dangers of corruption and introduced a toll free line (4040) for reporting corruption and bribery.
In 2019, an Anti-Corruption Bureau integrity survey revealed that corruption remains high at DRTSS, with employees and clients saying it takes place in exchange of services.