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09.02.2007 General News

Motor court mauls drivers

By myjoyonline
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Some drivers in Accra are complaining about the operations of the recently established motor court.

The court was established early this year to check indiscretion on the roads and ultimately help reduce accidents.

But barely a month into its operation motorists say it is unfriendly and imposes excessive fines on them.

The penalties range from one million to 30 million cedis. Offenders can also be asked to go to a driving school for six months or serve time in prison.

Commercial drivers especially those operating taxis allege that some police officers have taken advantage of the huge fines to extort monies from them.

But Deputy Commissioner of Police, Victor Tandoh, who is head of the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit of the Police Service, refuted the allegations.

“When the motor court was set up, many motorists thought it was a joke, but one month down the lane its impact is already being felt and motorist have begun complaining.”

Joy News correspondent Sammy Darko who sat through proceedings on Friday said offenders faced the court with no legal representation whatsoever.

“Sitting through court, it was interesting to observe the nature of cases brought before it; varying from reckless driving, drink driving to driving without a license or insurance.

“I did not see any body in court with a lawyer to defend them. With no lawyer to argue, the state prosecutor reads the charge and takes the plea of the offenders. Surprisingly most of the offenders pleaded guilty to the charges.”

He said judgment was instantaneous.

“The first person to be tried while I sat through the day's sitting was one driver Kwame Sekyi, a taxi driver. He pleaded guilty to three counts of drink driving, recklessness and driving without a license and was asked to pay ¢6 million or spend five months in jail.”

Kwame Sekyi later admitted he would serve the jail sentence because his ¢200,000 monthly salary could not support the fine.

Another taxi driver Kwame Amakye told him that some policemen had capitalized on the six million court penalty to extort monies from drivers.

Interestingly, almost all the drivers who appeared in court were fined ¢6 million each.

A journalist, Alfred Ogbamey also appeared before the court. He pleaded not guilty to two counts of reckless driving and negligently causing harm to a pedestrian.

He was granted a bail of ¢50 million to reappear on the 16th of February.

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