A shocking detection by the Crime Intelligence Branch (CRIB) has uncovered and ensured that at least 600 police officers are under investigation for having fake driver’s licenses while others were nabbed on their way to acquire them through the dubious formula, WeekendPost can reveal.
While the matter is still under investigation, this publication has been made aware that a lot of these incidents happen at Otse Police College. This is where police recruits do their training and orientation before they become full members of the uniform. However, what is puzzling the mind is for them to be contradicting their very own vision and mission by by-passing the laid down process and procedure of acquiring the driving licenses.
At the College, the Department of Road Transport and Safety (DRTS) has an accredited instructor who helps to assist recruits and police officers to acquire the licenses. Investigations by this publication shows that the instructor (names known to this publication) has been dishing licenses as he pleases. Following the CRIB operation to uncover this, the instructor has been suspended as investigations continue. A fortnight ago following the operation over 600 cops were caught with licenses that were not properly acquired. According to informants the suspects were detained in various prisons and were later discharged.
“However investigations are still ongoing as the CRIB is working hand in hand with DRTS to establish the root course,” highlights a source within the police enclave. The long-time accredited instructor is said to have been allowing everyone to proceed to the next stage of training despite failing. “If you fail the cones, you just talk to him and offer a kickback then he will mark that you have passed. Same thing on the next stage if you plead, he listens then you are good to go. He then sends the name of all who passes to Gaborone and the officials there just take names as they are and book for another stage,” one of those who benefitted from this has revealed.
He continued; “Not only that, it was possible for one to get EC license without Class B or soon thereafter despite the known process. After detection he has been suspended.” Police investigations have revealed at least one in every three heavy duty and extra heavy duty drivers on Botswana roads may be using counterfeit licenses. An official from DRTS confirmed to this publication that indeed the police are investigating the matter.
“As the department, we only deal with them (police) for verification through our records unit to see when and how the license was acquired, and if it was properly taken, but the criminality is for the police to say,” an official who fielded this publication’s enquiries said.
The official preferred masking, as the relevant authorities to answer were outside the country and are not expected anytime soon. Continued the official: “We have dispersed our instructors to various stations including Otse College, the only undoing is we are limited and cannot investigate.”
In terms of the numbers of the accused, the official was not in a position to reveal. Meanwhile reports say this problem does not only implicate the police but some members of the disciplined forces [soldiers and warders] were also held in their holding cells as this occurrence seems to be rampant.
A total of 42 cases of fake drivers’ licenses have been recorded countrywide from 2016 to date. It is further understood that the illicit selling and acquiring of drivers’ licenses have a direct bearing on road accidents and research indicates an increase in both recorded accidents and deaths and the number keeps swelling.
According to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) data published in 2017, Road Traffic Accidents Deaths in Botswana reached 475 of total deaths. The age adjusted Death Rate is 22.23 per 100,000 of population, and ranks Botswana number 71 in the world.
The Health Data used is published by WHO, World Bank and the United Nations.
In 2016, further research indicated that a total number of 18 373 road accidents were recorded in the country as compared to 17 654 the preceding year (2015). In terms of fatalities, a total of 450 people died in road crashes in 2016 as compared to 411 in 2015. WeekendPost could not, however, find any information linking the road accidents to the fake licensed drivers.