RA Flooded by Whistleblowers

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By Chrispin Inambao WINDHOEK Roads Authority (RA), whose employees at NaTIS are under investigation after a driving-licence-for-sale scam was unearthed, was yesterday inundated with calls from the public that provided a treasure trove of information. Following a well-executed police operation two days ago that culminated in several suspects implicated in the scam being picked up for questioning, its magnitude is unravelling as more people who allegedly sold the licences were named yesterday. At least six people were briefly detained for their role in the syndicate comprising several corrupt traffic police officers, NaTIS workers and individuals acting as middlemen. Police spokesperson Warrant Officer James Matengu yesterday confirmed the arrest of the six suspects, whom he said were released after being questioned by detectives. With regard to charges suggesting the police displayed lenience towards its members involved in the scam, Matengu maintained this was not the case, saying the law will take its course irrespective of whether the suspects are civilians or members of the force. Audrin Mathe, a senior spokesman at RA, the control authority that initiated tripartite investigations in June involving the City Police, the Namibian Police and an RA investigator, said yesterday his office was flooded with calls from whistleblowers. He said: “since this morning, people have been phoning in to volunteer information. “These are people who bought licences or who know someone who had bought a licence,” commented Mathe on the licences that sold from N$1 000 to N$3 000. People who failed their driving tests but who have been desperate to get driving licences were approached by members of the syndicate to pay a N$1 000 bribe for a licence for a sedan while a licence for a truck was sold for N$3 000. Mathe said he was overwhelmed with “valuable information” from the public that he has since passed on to investigators. He also assured the public that their information was being treated as confidential as RA would not want them to come to any “harm.” “We will treat this information as confidential as we do not want to put our informers in harm’s way by revealing who they are,” he said, adding that a future hotline is planned. Once installed, the public with information on corrupt activities at NaTIS could simply phone such a line and give information that could be used to “root out corruption”. Mathe said members of the public would be the eventual winners if officials given certain tasks render these services free of charge, fairly and they do this in a legal way. NaTIS, the Namibia Transportation and Information System, a sub-division of RA, issues driving licences, roadworthiness and fitness certificates and it is also involved in the registration of vehicles.