ASP Erick Harvey, DTO Bo East, pointed that in-fighting within the Bike Riders Union poses serious challenges for the SLP in that out-gone executive members incite some riders to break traffic rules. Riders leaving the outskirt of Bo entering the township do not put on helmet, and will carry two or three pillions.
The Stakeholder Traffic Sector meeting comes nearly two months following publication of the Second PNB Report for the period January to June 2017. 41% of the Report on I Paid a Bribe touched on the SLP. The meeting comprised personnel, within Bo West Headquarters and East Division, from Traffic, CDIID, Operations, and Inspectorate; Sierra Leone Road Safety Corps; Motor Drivers Union; Bike Riders Union; and Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law, (CARL).
ACC Southern Regional Manager, Samuel Marah said the stakeholder meeting signals a continued effort towards encouraging cooperation, building partnership, and strengthening accountability in the traffic. He said public sector corruption through bribery continues to hamper development, scare investors, and disrupt provision of service delivery. Bribery in the traffic is fatal to lives; it can destroy goods and properties; and can hamper economic activities. He said preliminary discussions with actors in the traffic indicated tension between the unions and traffic law enforcers. Bike Riders and Motor Drivers continue to see arrest of their membership as intimidation, and the payment of booking fees as a burden.
According to Mr. Marah, the ACC has a mandate to take all steps necessary for the prevention, eradication, and suppression of corruption and corrupt practices happening in the public and private sectors. Therefore, holding customized meetings with the said players is a huge step towards prevention of corruption, and building collaboration among the actors.
This is necessary to enhance sanity, prevent road accidents, forestall occurrence of bribery, increase movement of people, and inject speed in economic activities.
Drivers and riders called for increased collaboration to sanitize the sector. They drew attention to indiscriminate levy of tickets by road safety corps and delays in the availability of riders’ license after payment would have been made. According to them, plenty bikes are on loan to them, and waiting months to receive a license is unproductive.
Fayia Jusu, SLRSA Regional Manager Bo District said their mandate stops at issuance of ticket. He said this is to provide instant punishment for violation of traffic rules. On delay in issuance of licenses, he said the process is centralized in Freetown, and that most riders fail to produce complete document for their bikes.
Jeremy Simbo, Southern Regional Coordinator, Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law, said he recognized that police work under difficult situation, pointing out delay in monthly supply of rice, and also supply of uniforms and booths and rain gears is not forthcoming. According to him, the current status cannot be a justification for the receipt of booking fees. Bribery continues to damage the good image of the Force, creating negative perception among members of the public with regard police operations. The January-June PNB reports listed traffic as one of the services with high data on I paid a bribe.
Jeremy said naming and shaming of personnel in the traffic indulging in the act will be a useful mechanism to mitigate the menace.