Traffic directorate issuing photocopied bluebooks


The copies have same serial numbers and no security features, risking car owners to abuse by fraudsters

People registering their cars recently may not be safe from fraud and thievery as the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) is issuing bluebooks that have no security features.

A bluebook carries information and confirms the ownership of a car by an individual or an institution.

Each bluebook has its own serial number, alongside general visible security features which include:


a barcode which contains printer number, production date and serial number,

a unique serial number which contains same information as the barcode,

full colour coat of arms,


guilloche security background printed in a security rainbow print design,

guilloche boarder design,

DRTSS logo printed in faded full colour, and

micro texts.

The document also possesses security features that are only seen when placed under the ultra-violet (UV) light or facing the sun.

Such security features include a serial number, guilloche pattern printed in UV and a security water mark ‘S’ printed in UV.

We have established that since December last year, the directorate has been issuing bluebooks that have the same serial number because it is printing individual vehicle details on one, photocopied generic paper.

This means that the ‘bluebooks’ which car owners are getting have all their security features that show under UV light wiped out rendering the document vulnerable to abuse.

When contacted to explain the development, DRTSS Director Andrew Sandula kept asking for time to comment on the matter. And after seeking his comment for a month, he was yet to give a response as we went to press.

However, Minister of Transport Jacob Hara said government is aware of the problem.

Hara said the problem came about because the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) delayed to clear procurement processes for a contract of the supplier of the security papers, an issue which, according to him, has been cleared and there is headway.

“We could not stop giving people the bluebooks; that is why we just thought we should continue with the ones being given now but there is good progress because we have received pictures from our new contractor that the bluebooks are being printed and they will be here soon,” he said.

According to the minister: “Those who are being given the current bluebooks, we will call them back when the other bluebooks arrive so that they change but it is not a threat because we still have the right information in our system.”

However, a forensic security expert who asked for anonymity said there were reasons the security features were put on the document and absence of such features is a threat to people’s vehicles.

He added that the treats include that the bluebooks can easily be manipulated by fraudsters making it easier for robbers of cars to change ownership of stolen cars and resell or use it as collateral in financial institutions against the knowledge of the owner.

“People, their cars and even financial institutions are not safe because this means that one can steal a car, forge a bluebook and sale it as if it is his which means that the car is not safe, the person whose car has been stolen and that who has bought the car are not safe.

“Bluebooks are also used as collateral for financing. This means that I can get just photocopy a bluebook and serve it at financial institution or any lender as collateral which means even financial institutions may not be safe,” he said.

DRTSS was established by an Act of Parliament with the mandate to administer regulatory provisions governing motor vehicle administration, driver licensing and operator authorization, among others.

The directorate website says that its mission is to regulate the road traffic industry through standards and practice among others.

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