Maputo — Over 1,100 driving tests in Maputo city and province have been annulled because of fraud by the candidates.
The National Institute of Land Transport (INATTER), which is responsible for issuing driving licences, issued a statement identifying the candidates concerned, not by their names, but by bar codes, filling an entire page of the Maputo daily paper “Noticias”.
Under the driving test regulations, none of these candidates should be able to obtain a driving licence, and they must wait at least twelve months before sitting the test again.
Cited in Thursday's issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, INATTER spokesperson Vasco Tovela said the frauds took place during the multi-media written exams on driving theory. The most common form of cheating was simply to ask somebody else to sit the test. The candidate did not even enter the examination room, but just sent in a surrogate, presumably an experienced driver.
Given the scale of the fraud, this looks like an organized criminal enterprise, in which significant sums of money no doubt passed hands.
Most of the frauds took place over a year ago, and so the candidates have been called in to sit the test again. Novela said that many of them already had driving licences: this was because the fraud was not detected immediately, and so they had time to sit the second, practical, part of the test, and pick up their licences.
But once the theorectical tests were annulled, the driving licences of those candidates became null and void, and the traffic police, working with INATTER, have been confiscating them. The candidates will have to resit both the theoretical and the practical tests.
Asked about the current situation, Tovela said that, although he could not be certain that all the fraudulent schemes have been dismantled, “the situation has greatly improved”.
So far only the INATTER driving centres in Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola have been investigated, but Tovela said the investigations are now being extended to the northern city of Nampula.