Rwanda National Police (RNP) has arrested three people in Kigali for allegedly flipping their vehicles’ spare parts so as to acquire a motor vehicle inspection certificate.
Claudien Nsabimana, Dismas Ndisanze – both drivers – and Eric Mwumvaneza, a mechanic, were paraded at the Remera-based Motor Vehicle Inspection Center on September 28.
The two drivers are accused of borrowing and renting spare parts to put their vehicles in shape before taking it for mechanical inspection.
According to Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Kabanda, the spokesperson for the traffic and road safety department, the suspects would remove and return the spare parts to their owners after acquiring a certificate.
Both Nsabimana and Ndisanze are also accused of changing their initially left-hand driven trucks to right-hand drive to fit the standards and requirements of Rwanda, a thing police said could as well contribute to mechanical fault and cause accident.
According to Rwanda National Police, the trucks whose steering side has been changed usually have drag links that is not up to the required standards.
CIP Kabanda said that the drivers, knowingly, borrowed or hired drag links so that they can pass through the inspections and later reinstall the substandard one.
A drag link, commonly found in larger trucks and vans, is a suspension linkage component found in vehicles that connects the gear box to the steering wheel
Mwumvaneza, on the other hand, is said to be behind the alleged illegal mechanical repairs and replacements, and was caught red-handed changing the drag links, CIP Kabanda said.
Mwumvaneza, who admitted to the act, told journalists that this is a “common tendency among drivers who want to take their vehicles for inspection.”
Both drivers, on the other hand could only ask to be pardoned admitting that they committed the offence knowingly, and advised others not to engage in such unlawful and life-threatening acts.
CIP Kabanda said that they are “well aware” of such tendencies adding that police has enhanced its operations against such malpractices.
“Anyone who does such a thing must know that it’s not just criminal that comes with high penalties but also an act of fatality. Most trucks involved in accidents have been found to have mechanical problems that are caused by such malpractices, and this puts the driver or other people at risk,” CIP Kabanda said.
“We have nullified their inspection certificates and they are likely to lose their transport authorisation permits as well, but that will be decided later because at the moment Police is still discussing with Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority (RURA) over it. These are heavy penalties but can be avoided by doing what is right,” he said.
Fraudulent acquisition of any documents issued by a competent authority, under article 612 of the penal code, attracts a jail sentence of up seven years and a fine of up Rwf3 million.
CIP Kabanda, however, the vehicles in question will also be impounded for the entire period of their trial, until the court decides otherwise.
He further noted that Police has started following up all trucks that have gone through the inspection as part of the operation.