How improved motor-vehicle inspection services have tightened grip on corruption
â€‹Corruption is considered a taboo in Rwanda, let alone in Rwanda National Police where the force reels on the zero-stance policy. One of the departments where RNP has tightened grip on graft is the Motor-vehicle mechanical inspection (MIC) services.
â€œWe understand there are people who go around calling themselves police blockers or mediators especially in services offered by MIC; RNP has never had blockers and those are just fraudsters targeting car owners and tarnishing the image of the centre,â€ Chief Supt. Emmanuel Kalinda, commanding officer of MIC, said.
The MIC is completely going electronic; a move Police believes will ultimately ensure total transparency and effectiveness. For example, a person who takes his or her car for inspection at MIC Remera can follow the process just on a screen installed in a waiting room.
The adopted â€˜Queue Managementâ€™ system helps car owners to get numbers that are followed during inspection while the CCTV cameras installed at every corner of the facility feeds to the control and waiting rooms.
In the waiting room, one of the two installed TVs indicate numbers in the queue while the other one is connected to the test lane CCTV camera and helps them to follow up their vehicles under inspection.
All stages of inspection are connected to the server room where a vehicle inspection log is automatically registered and an inspection report automatically processed, indicating the status of a car.
According to CSP Kalinda, 13 people suspected of either posing as blockers for the MIC services or attempting to bribe officers to unlawfully offer them illegal services have been arrested in the past one month.
â€œTwo of the suspects were arrested last Friday at MIC in Remera while one other suspect was apprehended a day before, all attempting to offer bribes of up to Rwf15, 000 to officers to help them acquire a mechanical certificate even when the vehicles in question were in sorry state,â€ he said.
Most of the suspects were identified by use of CCTVs while others were reported by victims or would-be victims in Kigali, he added. He further warned drivers against attempts to bribe police officers as means to be given priority or to keep a blind eye on the mechanical faults.
According to CSP Kalinda, there is no need to offer bribes because the MIC services can be accessed easily.
â€œWe work fromÂ MondayÂ toÂ SaturdayÂ fromÂ 5:00 amÂ toÂ 6:00 pm, with officers working in shifts and inspecting a vehicle takes about five minutes. We treat every issue accordinglyâ€¦for example, say you are sick or have an emergency, we give them special attention,â€ he explained.
This, he said, should erase fears especially women who are said to be the majority group that listens to those who say that they are authorized and work with police. He advised owners of vehicles to bring their automobiles themselves or always call 0788311512 to follow up to ensure that their vehicles are inspected to avoid any foul play.
Since the first two inspection lanes were established at Remera MIC in 2008, he said, the force has continued to revamp its services from 150 daily inspections per day to about 800 currently.
This is partly due to the establishment of the third lane and the introduction of the Mobile Test Lane reserved for vehicles operating in the countryside, and another lane established at Police Training School (PTS) Gishari in Rwamagana District to serve the Eastern Province.
The improved services also saw the number inspections annually increasing tremendously.
The number of vehicle inspections last year increased by about 27 percent to 96, 283, up from 75, 839 inspections in the previous year.
In this yearâ€™s first two months alone, a total of 17094 vehicles have been inspected.
According to Kalinda, the centre also receives foreign vehicles.
Â â€œThis electronic system helps to follow up, ensure transparency and monitor for any malpractice. Some of those that try to bribe police officers are caught using these cameras.â€
Carol Uwase, one of the vehicle owners, who was found at MIC Remera, said the electronic system helps them to monitor themselves.â€œIt is my first time to bring my vehicle here because I used to think it was not easy to have your vehicle inspected. I found a totally different setting.
All I do is seat here and monitor my vehicle on this screen. I will know when my turn comes and even know how many cars are left in front of me,â€ said Uwase. Claude Kwizera, another car owner, said there is a big change compared to when the centre started, and the new changes facilitates business since you can know the time you will wait.
â€œNow you can know that when there are 10 vehicles in front of you, you wonâ€™t wait for more than 30 minutes. The first-come-first-served system can even be monitors by us because of these cameras, not necessarily police officers,â€ said Kwizera.
Plans in pipeline
Currently, RNP is constructing other two lanes at MIC Remera, which are set to be operational by the end of May. Once complete, according to CSP Kalinda, daily inspections at Remera alone centre will increase to 700.
Meanwhile, police is also currently developing software that will make MIC operations computerized.
Once completed, it means that those seeking the MIC services will no longer queue in banks to pay for the services as it will be done online. Others will include e-booking and electronically archiving files of every vehicle, among others.
â€œMIC is for Rwandans to ensure their safety and it has no agents. This is like a hospital where your life depends. Car owners shouldnâ€™t as well wait until they time for inspection comes, to service their vehicles. Vehicle service should be regular because your life depends on its status,â€ said CSP Kalinda.
The motor vehicle inspection centre, checks, among others, wheel balance and alignment, gas emission, suspensions, brakes, axle play, headlights as well as visual inspection that involves the use observing the housing of the car, side and rearview mirrors.
MIC is an integral part of the department of traffic and road safety established under the presidential decree regulating general traffic police and road traffic.