Maputo — Mozambican Attorney-General Beatriz Buchili on Tuesday demanded a tougher stance against corruption from the National Overland Transport Institute (INATTER), the boy that is responsible for issuing driving licences.
Visiting the INATTER premises in the southern city of Matola, Buchili asked how fraud in obtaining driving licences was possible, given that INATTER is now fully computerized.
“What's going on?”, she asked. “Aren't these machines capable of preventing fraud? How can people commit fraud, when they have to pre-register at the moment their data are processed?”
Buchili noted that cases had reached her office concerning people who had obtained driving licences by getting somebody else to sit the examination for them. “This situation is intolerable”, she declared. “Corruption must be fought against with more effective mechanisms”.
The head of the Matola INATTER delegation, Hilario Macie, accepted there are weaknesses in checking for fraud, and he admitted that INATTER staff are involved in fraudulent schemes. “The machines are powerful”, he told Buchili, “but the truth is that these acts occur with the connivance of our staff. Unfortunately about 1,000 cases have been registered and they were only possible with the involvement of staff”.
On the same day as Buchili's visit, INATTER issued a release announcing that eight INATTER workers, in Maputo and Nampula provinces and Maputo city, have been thrown out of the public administration because of their involvement in falsifying the theoretical parts of driving tests.
“The measure was taken after an internal audit of the multi-media examination system discovered that 1,136 theoretical driving tests had been taken fraudulently”, said the release.
The fraud network seemed to involve a large number of people - including the candidates themselves, driving instructors, administrative staff at driving schools, and the INATTER staff invigilating the theoretical examinations.
The fraud was simple enough - other people, already experienced drivers, were paid to sit the test instead of the genuine candidates, and the invigilators were bribed to turn a blind eye to the switch.
After the fraud was uncovered, the 1,136 people who had passed the test fraudulently found their driving licences cancelled. They can only apply to sit the test again after a year.
This scandal once again raises the possibility that one of the causes for high mortality on Mozambican roads is that many motorists have obtained their licences fraudulently, and should not be allowed to sit behind the wheel.