Thursday, April 2, 2020

Weigh-bridges corruption bleeds government of millions

The government is spending millions to rehabilitate roads that wear out before their predicted lifespan because roads officials manning weighbridges are being bribed by truck drivers to allow overloaded trucks through ÔÇô it emerged at a recent Francistown full council meeting.

”Government spends a lot of money every year to repair roads that are worn out before their predicted lifespan because corrupt weighbridge officers allow them to pass through carrying excessive loads,” charged Francistown councilor Ignatius Moswaane.

Members of the FCC wanted to know what the roads department was doing to address this situation. An official at the Department of Roads, known to this paper as Mr. Kemsley, told the full council meeting that they were aware of allegations of corruption within their department. He, however, said their hands are tied as they cannot take any action without concrete proof.

He urged anyone with information that may help them prosecute the corrupt officers to come forward. Kemsley also said that issues of corruption are usually handled by relevant authorities such as the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime.

Moswaane, however, was not happy with the response. He said that the Roads Department had a responsibility to put in place internal controls to safeguard against such corrupt practices. He challenged the roads department to make random spot checks on the weights load of trucks that travel along the Francistown-Maun and the Nata-Kasane roads so that they can appreciate the gravity of the situation. Moswaane revealed that there is no other weigh bridge after Francistown such that trucks travel distances of over 500 kilometers without their loads being checked. He added that there is evidence that after passing through the Francistown weighbridge some truckers stop along the way to reload their trucks to overload levels as they know that they will not encounter any check points until they reach their destination.

Kemsley said that the Roads Department does have spot checks that they perform using their mobile weigh bridges but their effectiveness is limited as there are only 6 of them in the whole country.

Tom Moilwa of the Roads Department said that it is not true that they are not doing anything to combat corruption as they have in the past reported officers suspected of corruption to the DCEC. This was confirmed by an official at the DCEC who revealed that they are currently dealing with a number of issues concerning corrupt practices by weighbridge officers.

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