Advertisement
National

Fraud hits toll gates

K10 million stolen

Advertisement
KAMBWANDIRA— The government should be transparent

The Roads Fund Administration (RFA) has busted a syndicate that is alleged to have skimmed government off millions of Kwacha through the issuance of duplicate receipts to motorists at Chingeni Toll Plaza and Kalinyeke Toll Gate in Balaka and Dedza districts.

The country commissioned its first toll gates last year but, barely few months of their existence, theft, reportedly in millions of Kwacha and targeting vehicles in the category of between K4,000 and K5,000 per one-way trip, has been reported.

In a statement released Tuesday, RFA says about K10 million must have been misappropriated by toll collectors at both Chingeni and Kalinyeke toll gates.

Advertisement

According to the statement, they deployed internal auditors to investigate the incidents.

“The auditors have confirmed the fraudulent activities and recognised the concerned transactions, including use of CCTV footage, for the noted irregularities,” the statement reads.

According to the statement, investigations are at an advanced stage to establish the full nature and extent of the fraud.

Advertisement

RFA says incidents took the form of issuance of duplicate receipts to unsuspecting high-value paying vehicles after misclassifying their vehicles on boom opening as low-value paying vehicles and pocketing the difference.

Earlier, RFA spokesperson Masauko Ngwaluko had told The Daily Times that the authority was aware of the issue of fraud.

“I can confirm that, indeed, there are some suspected fraudulent activities and, indeed, six employees have been suspended. Some RFA staff [members] have been manipulating the toll payment system,” Ngwaluko said.

A source at Chingeni Toll Plaza told The Daily Times that a syndicate was busted there when—on March 2 2022— one of the cashiers was discovered swapping receipts for a car classified in category class 2b—with the capacity of two tonnes—which was supposed to pay K4,000.

The cashier recorded K1,000 when the money paid was K4,000.

A source said, upon the discovery and verification with CCTV cameras, an audit was carried out and revealed that, out of the 16 cashiers at the toll plaza, six were implicated.

“They were suspended and asked to write reports. They will be appearing for disciplinary hearing on Friday,” said the source, adding that investigations have been extended to Kalinyeka Toll Gate in Dedza District.

He indicated that there were some vehicles classified as class 1b that are similar to some vehicles that are classified as class 2b.

However, on this day, the cashier recorded the vehicles that were outside the class 1b category as class 1b, which attracted the attention of supervisors.

Meanwhile, Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency (Csat) has called for extensive audits at the two toll collection facilities.

Csat Executive director Willie Kambwandira added that appropriate remedial action should be taken on the suspected officers who are alleged to have been part of the syndicate.

“The revelations only show that our taxes are not safe and Malawians ought to be vigilant to safeguard their hard-earned taxes. The revelations have vindicated our concerns about suspected elements of fraud at the toll gates.

“It is our expectation that officers involved in the syndicate will be sanctioned. Again, we demand an audit on funds collected to establish the extent of plunder because we suspect that the figures could be more that what is said in the social media. The government should be transparent and account for fees collected,” Kambwandira said.

Light vehicles in Class 1A are now paying K1,000 just like pick-ups that are in Class 1B while minibuses, which are in Class 1C, are paying K2,000.

Vehicles carrying 17 to 31 passengers with rear double tyres which are in Class 2A are paying K4,000 and this is also applicable to 2 to 5-tonne vehicles with rear double tyres (Class 2B) and vehicles with above 5 to 10 tonnage (Class 3).

Vehicles above 10 tonnes (Class 4) are now paying K5,000. Abnormal loads in Class 5 are charged K20,000.

RFA is on record to have said funds collected at the toll gates would be channelled towards maintenance and rehabilitation of roads.

Facebook Notice for EU! You need to login to view and post FB Comments!
Advertisement
Tags
Show More
Advertisement

Related Articles

Back to top button
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker