New Minister of Homeland Security Ken Zikhale Ng’oma has condemned traffic police officers for confiscating driving licences during traffic checks and ordered a stop to the practice.
He said this yesterday at National Police Headquarters in Area 30, Lilongwe where he addressed heads of police, Immigration, Prison and refugees department.
Said Ng’oma: “When conducting your duties as traffic officers, stop confiscating driving licences from motorists. That is against the law. No traffic police officer has authority to confiscate a driving licence from a motorist when being stopped for a traffic violation under the laws.”
He said this practice is rampant due to the police wanting ‘speedy money’.
Ng’oma said: “Most of you here know what ‘speedy money’ is. You want to hasten a routine process then you bend rules, confiscate the licence so as to force the driver to pay something which is not remitted into government coffers.
“I am aware that some traffic officers carry fake receipt books. This must stop. Let us practice integrity.”
He said traffic police still have the authority to issue penalty tickets on the spot to motorists who have committed a traffic violation.
The minister said his ministry will invest in initiatives that motivate police officers through provision of good remuneration packages, good houses, refresher courses, timely promotion and exchange visits.
The heads of security organs in attendance included Inspector General of Police Merlyn Yolamu, Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services director general Charles Kalumo and Prisons Chief Commissioner Wandika Phiri.
Yolamu thanked Ng’oma for addressing the security organs as to what government should expect from them.
“This was a great opportunity for all the security organs to express themselves and their needs but also hear what government expects of us. We thank the minister for his patience in listening to our presentations,” she said.
Through a presentation made by the police, the minister learnt about the grave challenges facing the institution such as human resource shortages and transportation challenges which affect their fight against crime.
Ng’oma was told that police currently has 16 000 officers, but needs 31 000 personnel to work on optimal capacity.
Ng’oma was appointed into President Lazarus Chakwera’s Cabinet last week to replace Jean Sendeza who was moved to another portifolio. He is currently on familiarisation tour of the ministry