The Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) was established by an Act of Parliament to complement the Sierra Leone Police and road safety in the country.
Autospect Sierra Leone was awarded the contract for the provision of vehicle and driver’s licenses and number plates as well as the temporary vehicle registration tag.
Among others, it appears that it is a sham deal as the government’s Transport and Aviation Ministry and the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) have privatized the License Department for Autospect – SL. As a result, many staff members may have been made redundant.
The Public Review newspaper has gathered that Autospect is giving the SLRSA a 20% cut from earnings and for all other transactions involving money are done strictly on a cash-in-hand basis.
Autospect does not use the swift system in use in Sierra Leone, it avoids making payments through the banks, which has raised eyebrows, and tongues are wagging about money being laundered the better judgment against of government’s financial policies.
Curiously, though, licenses and other registrations pertaining to payment for obtaining vehicles license has scandalously been raised over 200%.
The arrangement scheduled for a review of this spooky scheme has been stalled. Since 2016, due to a bad agreement reached between the Minister of Transport and Autospect for his aggrandizement, Autospect, a Lebanese outfit with no track record apart from having raised its ugly head in this country, has been giving a 20% hand shake to the SLRSA monthly.
According to sources, Autospect staff are receiving all monetary transactions through cash-in-hand even though all transactions should go through the banking services. Autospect makes a whooping Le 1 Billion daily. It has increased the price for the renewal of vehicle licenses from Le 600,000 old prices to Le 1, 33,000 old Leones for jeep, and TVR from Le 250,000 to Le 640, 0000.
This situation at SLRSA is pathetic. Falling short of fulfilling its mandate and core functions for licensing vehicles, the listless problems began soon after bypassing local bidders with a history of a good reputation in that sort of industry only for Autospect to come in with no background checked at all. Autospect Sierra Leone is a Lebanese company that was awarded that contract by the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authorities (SLRSA) through the back door and after failing the local content policy. “It was directed to print, issue and renew vehicles licenses in Sierra Leone,” an angry vehicle owner echoed.
According to an investigation carried out by the public Review newspaper, hundreds of customers are unhappy and fed up with the company. Autospect, a backyard company from Lebanon, had already collected monies from unsuspecting customers issue vehicle number plates, licenses, and vehicle fitness examining. To the customers chagrin, they are still waiting hopelessly.
Investigations also revealed that Autospect Sierra Leone had shut down operations for over 5 days without issuing any notice to the public and its buying customers.
It is scandalous.
How could they shut down operations without any proper notice to its customers?
The increment of licenses fees without noticing the public is tantamount to corruption and corrupt practices by the company warranting the intervention of the ACC.
As it stands, since Autospect shut down its operations, there is no statement from the company to ascertain what may have given rise to the shutdown.
Speaking to the General Manager of Autospect Sierra Leone Mr. Muhieddie Itani said that he did not think there was a problem with his company.
He added, “There is no technical problem, but they are fixing a software upgrade that was down last week Friday.”
He also advised the Public Review that even though he is the head of Autospect, the reporter should also cross check with the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRA) for further clarifications.