The suspects, whose identities are yet to be ascertained, were apprehended when officials from the Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) paid an impromptu visit to four main lorry stations within the metropolis.
The visit, which forms part of measures put in place by the three institutions to check the conditions of vehicles on the road ahead of the Easter festivities, also led to the impounding of four rickety vehicles considered to be inappropriate for conveying passengers.
The suspects were handed over to the various police stations under whose jurisdiction the drivers operate.
Purpose of visit
The visit led the combined team of the MTTD, the DVLA and the NRSC to the Ashaiman lorry park, the Takoradi lorry station at Kaneshie, the Neoplan station at Circle and the Kimbu lorry station at the Central Business District (CBD) of Accra.
Briefing journalists after the visit, the Director in charge of Education, Research and Training of the MTTD, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Mr Alexander Kweku Obeng, said although there were task forces assigned to check the activities of commercial drivers, there was the need for stakeholders to personally monitor the operations of drivers.
“This exercise is done periodically by stakeholders in the road sector to check the conduct of commercial drivers and other road users. We also use the occasion to educate them on the need to observe road regulations to address the issue of road carnage in our country,” he said.
The arrests also confirmed the latest undercover investigations by Anas Aremeyaw Anas’s Tiger Eye, titled “Soul Takers”, with support from the Graphic Communications Group Limited, (GCGL) which revealed the rot at the DVLA in the issuance of fake licences.
In the film, a network of officials and some deviants pursuing their personal monetary gains issue licences to unqualified individuals.
The 12-month investigation, which saw the undercover team of Tiger Eye visiting some regional offices of the DVLA, established the breakdown of the system at the DVLA, making it easy for the team to procure licences for mentally and physically challenged persons, market women, expatriates, and other individuals, without going through the usual rigorous process of acquiring a licence.
At the various lorry stations visited, most of the vehicles checked by the combined team had worn-out tyres.
Although the drivers tried to convince the combined team that the vehicles were in good shape, officials from the MTTD ordered them to repair the faulty parts else they would face sanctions.
When the team arrived at the Takoradi station at Kaneshie, a middle-aged driver who was about to convey passengers to Takoradi was stopped after a check on him revealed that his alcohol consumption percentage was beyond 0.08 as required by Law.
Suspects to face the law
According to Mr Obeng, the MTTD would follow up to ensure that commercial drivers arrested for various offences faced the full rigours of the law.
He disclosed that out of a total of 995 drivers arrested for various offences in the first quarter of the year, 842 were charged and fined, adding that one of the drivers was convicted.
For his part, the Deputy Director in charge of Vehicle Inspection and Registration of the DVLA emphasised the preparedness of the institutions to deal with people who would flout the road regulations.
He said apart from periodically checking the operations of drivers, the institutions would engage other stakeholders in addressing carnage on the road.