Police in the Upper East region, in conjunction with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), have made a “landmark” arrest of two men allegedly involved in the production of fake vehicle registration and travel documents.
Several people also said to be involved in the crime are at large. The arrests were made Monday after a raid on their hideouts in Kumasi where, according to DVLA officials, the suspects have fabricated such illegal materials for many end users in the Upper East region.
The busted suspects, Moro Bukari, 52, and Awal Mohammed, 29, were paraded in shared handcuffs this morning (Tuesday) at the Upper East Regional Police Headquarters where the materials found at their hideouts also were on display. The fake materials include driving licence cards, birth certificates, road worthy certificates, insurance stickers, local and foreign registration number plates and travel passports among others.
A number of machines used for the illegal manufacture of the items- such as laptops, embossment machines, stamps, a generator, staplers, printers, et cetera- were retrieved from their den. Also on parade were countless passport pictures of people believed to have applied from the Upper East region for the suspects’ services. The DVLA says the confiscated fake registration number plates for motorbikes alone are in excess of 300. It is the first time an arrest of this scale has been made in the region, according to the licensing authority.
“The end users of this crime are the people in the Upper East. We intercepted all this information during our taskforce operation. We organise our taskforce operations and we go to every district, every community, to give them outreach services. When we went to give them the outreach services, we found out that the patronage was low.
“And beyond that we also observed that number plates found behind are not in conformity with the law because there is a standard way of embossing a number plate to put it behind a machine or any vehicle. But the number plates we found were different. And once we find them different, we have to call them to question. It is only the DVLA who has the responsibility to produce those number plates either by themselves or through their suppliers,” the acting Upper East Regional Manager of the DVLA, Munta Wakil Abdulai, told newsmen Tuesday at the police headquarters.
About 1,000 fake number plates impounded in Upper East
The DVLA says about 1,000 fake number plates so far have been seized since it launched a swoop operation over 3 months ago in the region.
“It was alarming. Since we started arresting motorbikes over three months ago, we have arrested close to 1,000 fake number plates across the region. Most of the number plates behind the motorcycles are AS registration, NR registration, UE registration, GR registration. All the region’s registrations were involved. So, it wasn’t only Upper East.
“And what we also see is that when we register about 500 motorbikes, they will register 500 motorbikes. You can see the huge losses in terms of revenue to government. Apart from revenue, look at the security issues. If they should use that motor or machine to rob you, where would you trace the source? If they should use it to cause accidents, how would you trace the source? We have to take up the mandate to investigate it ourselves, with the cooperation of the police and the customs,” Mr. Abdulai said.
Licensees in Upper East warned about fishy deals
The crime-related parade was wrapped up with the Upper East Regional Police Command extracting further details from the suspects to initiate criminal court proceedings against them.
The DVLA also fired strong warnings, saying it would also cause the arrest of anyone found dealing with any individual or group involved in the production of counterfeit vehicle licence documents.
“We have arrested end users several times. And we shall continue to arrest them. There was an auxiliary arrest which [had to with] international driver and vehicle permit. We arrested the person in Bawku. He was issuing it to innocent Ghanaians. We arrested these two suspects at Sa’abo Zongo in Kumasi. The registration documents were picked up at New Sa’abo Zongo with the gentleman delivering already-made fake motorcycle documents to a client.
“There are 2015 number plates, 2016 number plates and the worst- 2017 number plates! Why I said the ‘worst’ is that they are more. They are producing them in mass quantities and distributing it to every part of the Upper East region, which is a security threat to us. It is a revenue leakage to us. The company is called HFC Embossment Company Limited. That is where the [fake] number plates are embossed. For now DVLA has blacklisted HFC Embossment Company Limited. He (the head) was doing things outside DVLA-recommended practice. He was nowhere to be found when we went there yesterday,” the acting regional DVLA boss said.