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Ongoing driving test assessment is illegal – lawyer

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Authors: Emmanuel Akile | Charles Wote | Published: 13 seconds ago

A police officer counts “fine” for the car he’s leaning against after the traffic officer who impounded it demanded 10,000 SSP for its release in April 2019 at Buluk | Credit | Ayuen Panchol/Eye Radio

The ongoing random driving test assessment imposed by the traffic police on motorists has no legal basis, a lawyer says.

Isaa Muzamil has criticized the traffic police department for launching the exercise “meant to intimidate, harass and extort money from drivers”.

He states that the New Sudan Traffic Act of 2003 does not mandate the police to operationalize such policy.

Early this week, some motorists in Juba raised concerns over “continued harassment’ by traffic police officers.

Most of them said the officers from both national and Central Equatoria State traffic departments have “descended hard” on them along the main roads.

They say the traffic officers now pull them over and ask for documents such as “driver’s assessment test”.

According to the motorists, the traffic police officers claim that the document should be obtained by any driver in the capital.

Other grievances raised by the motorists include intimidation over logbooks and tinted windows.

According to Section 31 of the New Sudan Traffic Act, driving licenses shall be issued and renewed upon expiry.

It states that the driving licenses are granted only after a prescribed test has been passed or the holder is of an international driving permit.

“So, as the law stands by, there is nothing of this nature called ‘assessment test’ or whatsoever,” Advocate Isaa Muzamil told Eye Radio.

The test for driving permit, he argued, is not done on the road, or to those who have already legally acquired their licenses.

He believes the ongoing crackdown is meant to extort money from the motorists.

“A traffic police officer is now as dangerous as an unknown gunman in the eyes of the ordinary people,” Muzamil continued.

“That’s why most of the motorists don’t like to stop even before a traffic police officer.”

In response, the national police service defended the driving test assessment, claiming it is meant to regulate the movement of unauthorized vehicles.

But in May 2020, the national police service launched a crackdown on indiscipline traffic police officers in Juba.

The operation was to identify and arrest disorderly officers following complaints by the public.

Motorists said traffic officers coerce them to pay bribes.

“Simple logic: how come you pay 13,000 and given a receipt of 5,000 pounds and you leave that officer? You should not leave; you are supposed to ask him for the correct receipt,”   Maj.-Gen. Daniel Justin asserted.

This is not the first time the members of the public have accused the traffic police.

In 2019, the traffic police department detained 85 police officers and expelled others over abuses against motorists in Juba.

The force admitted that it had been infiltrated by those not to be belonging to the traffic police department.

Many impersonate the service to wrongfully generate money.

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