Maputo — The Mozambican police only collect a small minority of the fines issued by traffic police for a variety of motoring offences.
Visiting the police jurisdiction in the southern city of Matola on Monday, Attorney-General Beatriz Buchili discovered that from January to May this year the police in Maputo province had fined about 16,600 motorists, but only around 2,740 (16.5 per cent) had actually paid up.
In monetary terms, the situation was even worse. The provincial traffic police had, from January to May, issued fines amounting to 7.4 million meticais (about 123,000 US dollars). But only 1.9 million meticais (25.6 per cent) entered the state's coffers. The municipal police also issued fines - in 2016, these amounted to 37 million meticais, but the offenders only paid 500,000 meticais. If these figures are accurate, then over 98 per cent of the fines charged by the Matola municipal police are not collected,
Since Buchili was not born yesterday, she did not believe that the unpaid fines were still in motorists' pockets, according to a report in Tuesday's issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”. Instead it was likely that millions of meticais had been grabbed by members of the traffic police and the municipal police in corrupt schemes.
“Given this situation, we are not showing that we are doing any work”, Buchili told members of the traffic and municipal police. “Since there is no effective collection of fines, some people continue to offend, apparently because they know they won't have to pay”.
“We must be more demanding and work for these sums to be paid, not only to increase the revenue of the state, but also to improve conditions in our own units”, she urged
A further serious problem was the failure of the traffic police to describe major traffic accidents accurately, providing accounts that could be used by the courts. Buchili found that they made no attempt to reconstitute the accidents or to find witnesses.
“Many of the case files on traffic accidents don't mention any witnesses”, she pointed out, “and this makes it still more difficult to find out what happened. The Traffic Police must do their work completely on the ground so that better decisions can be taken”.