Residents of Anambra State are calling on government to rein in officials of the State Vehicle Inspection Office over their alleged fraudulent activities.
Some motorists in the State Capital City of Awka who spoke to TNC, alleged that the VIO officials impound their vehicles on trumped-up charges and end up extorting money from them.
The pointed accusing fingers at the VIO team positioned at the ABS axis of the Onitsha-Awka Expressway.
According to a victim who pleaded anonymity, his car was impounded for three days by the office for refusing to a pay a fine of N50, 000.
Narrating his ordeal, the victim said the VIO officials claimed that one of my vehicle document which he paid for its renewal at the same time, was fake.
“Their position after I presented the documents was that they have checked on database for vehicle license and saw that I have problem. I tried to explain to them that I made the payment through a state revenue official, whom I later brought to clear me, yet they confiscated my vehicle for three days,” he said.
He continued, “after the invitation of the Motor Registration Staff of Anambra Internal Revenue Service who processed the papers failed, I drew attention of some journalists and the moment they realized that media people had stepped in, the officials called me to come and take my car.
“They had first told me to bring N100,000, later N50,000 before reducing the money to N30, 000 over the offence they said it’s official charge was N7, 500.”
Reacting to the allegation, Chief VIO in the State, Macdonald Achuam, said some motorists are in the habit of forging government documents.
But a reliable source within the State Ministry of Transport, says the VIO officials were in very serious racketeering which they have used to exploit many unsuspecting motorists.
“What is happening in the VIO is serious racketeering being supervised by a political appointee and many vehicle owners have fallen victims already. The person acting as State VIO is even somebody that refused to hand over to the main state officer deployed from Ministry of Works who is on a higher grade level,” the source said.
Meanwhile, when TNC took the matter to the State Commissioner for Transport, Afam Mbanefo, he assured that the ministry will investigate the complaints, assuring that no fraudulent person will be spared.
He said the AIRS and VIO had distinct but complementary roles, adding that what should be the focus of the VIOs, is to ensure that vehicles are roadworthy.
“Ideally, VIO has stipulated and strategically-defined roles, they should know exactly what their role is. I assure you that we will investigate this complaint.
“The officials are not supposed to take money for what they should not take money for or charge for an offence they are not supposed to charge because the penalties are clear and open, every payment must go into government single account,” he said.