Daylight stealing at toll booths

..State looks unconcern

Almost five months since The aL-hAJJ exposed how persons engaged to man the various tollbooths dotted across the country have devised crafty means to fill their pockets with revenues that should ordinarily have gone to the state, the awful exercise continues to fester with no end in sight.

With indications that state officials in charge of the tollbooths are not interested and/or handicapped in dealing with the dastardly act, personnel at the various tollbooths have intensified their dirty daily deals to deny the state of valuable and badly needed revenue for the nation’s growth and development.

While the President, governance experts, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Ghanaians alike are lamenting on the need to generate more revenue to meet the country’s needs and to lift it from the current economic doldrums, these “enemies of the state” without any sense of patriotism and shame have made it their stock in trade to line their pockets while the country continuously remain in financial quagmire.

Early this year, July 15, The aL-hAJJ revealed how officials in charge of the tollbooths have developed well-rehearsed and crafty mechanism to channel chunk of proceeds from the daily toll collection on the numerous roads into their pockets.

While it was earlier reported that the activities of these nation-wreckers were prevalent at places where their operations are not automated, latest investigation has revealed that even at places where their operations are automated, personnel deliberately issue tickets less than the money drivers pay.

Investigations have indicated that to avoid being caught in the act, the toll officials practice their dirty deals with only “friendly” commercial drivers who are sometimes given leverage to use the road without paying tolls for their loyalty to ensuring the dubious business booms.

In order to outwit officialdom and persons who might raise issues with them for allowing some drivers not paying tolls, “they issue the drivers with outdated ticket without taking any money and when they are asked why, they only say the driver has his balance with them.”

“Some of the drivers are their friends, so at places where the toll collection are automated, they issue them with tickets less than the amount they paid, and when they do that for about three or four times with the same driver, they then compensate him with free passage without him paying anything…this issue is disturbing but no one seems to care about it,” a vendor at the Kasoa-Winneba highway who is familiar with the operations told this paper.

Akin to the win-win situation, The aL-hAJJ’s investigation revealed that at places where toll collection are not automated, personnel hired to man the tollbooths allow their co-conspirators (commercial drivers) to pay half of what they are required by law.

The drivers are then not given tickets as the monies end up in the pocket of the personnel. In essence, a driver who is required to pay GHC1 per trip gets 50Gp discount while the official keeps the 50Gp.

This paper’s investigations showed that the dubious act is not done at weekends as it is believed most senior officials of the state ply the roads. Also, the practice is only done to commercial driver’s friends who frequently use the road.

Though the fraudulent act is widespread in the country, especially where the tollbooths are not automated, the practice is pervasive on the Madina-Aburi road.

At one such tollbooth at Ayi Mensah, the awful practice is such that when a commercial driver who falls within the bracket of those who pay half fares gets to the booth, he either gives GHC10 or GHC20 to an official at the booth.

The personnel then balance the drive and folds it as though he/she had concealed the ticket in the money. This is done to obviate any suspicion from passengers. The driver then honks and off he goes.

While the state officials continue to wail in search of revenues to address the country’s needs, theses unscrupulous individuals, who get paid every month, milk the state while potholes on the roads they collect the tolls from develop into gullies.

source : Al-Hajj