Some Lagos residents, who want to re-register their vehicles, have lamented how officials of the Motor Vehicle Administration Agency under the state Ministry of Transportation frustrate and extort them.
They said aside from paying N46,000 for change of ownership documents and number plates, they were being made to part with extra cash for ‘processing’.
According to them, the officials charged each applicant between N10,000 and N12,000 extra, money that is not receipted.
Our correspondents were told that months after some motorists had paid the N46,000, they had yet to get their documents and number plates.
An engineer, Mr Edet Okon, said he paid N46,000 to change the ownership of a registered Honda Crosstour he bought, adding that three months after, he had yet to get the documents and the number plate.
He explained, “The car I am using was registered in the name of my company, because I took a loan to acquire it. When I completed payment for the car, the company transferred it to me and I applied for the change of ownership documents.
“I paid N46,000 to the licensing office since July. I don’t know what is keeping them from processing the application for change of ownership. I have yet to be assigned a new number plate. The official in charge wants me to bribe him and I am not going to do that. It is wrong for people to expect that they must be tipped to do their job.”
Another resident, Opeyemi Oyejide, said he could not understand the government’s inability to give him a number plate despite the fact that he had paid the required fee.
Oyejide, 40, advised the agency to issue temporary clearance permits to vehicle owners, who had commenced the re-registration process, to prevent security agents from harassing them.
He said, “For me not to have completed the change of ownership means that governance is at low ebb in this state. It simply implies that the government cannot perform the basic task it was set up for. I got the number plate for my first car in three days in this same Lagos, but everything has changed now.
“But if you are willing to offer a bribe, you will get the number plate in record time. I know somebody, who paid over the odds for re-registration and his number plate has been delivered, but because people like us refused to part with extra money, we have not got what we paid for.”
Another motorist, Adekunle Bello, said the charges for vehicle re-registration were exorbitant, alleging that government agents and their cohorts had created artificial scarcity of number plates to extort money from applicants.
A resident, Goriola Adegoke, who paid extra N10,000 to a government employee, said he got his documents and number plate under two weeks.
“That is not the standard procedure, because the money certainly goes into their pockets. I have yet to even get the receipt for the N46,000 I paid before adding the N10,000. The extra money facilitated the choice of the local government that reflected on the number plate. This is nothing but fraud,” he stated.
During a visit to the MVAA at Alausa, PUNCH Metro learnt from some officials that the processing of number plates ideally should take 48 hours.
But an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that the licensing office at the state secretariat had stopped issuing number plates for re-registered vehicles.
He explained, “Before now, the government issued number plates to new vehicles and old vehicles brought for re-registration. But recently, it stopped issuing new number plates for old vehicles. So, we decided to apply for new number plates for people re-registering vehicles.
“The process of doing this is long. That is why we collect an extra fee of N12,000. I charge a total of N60,000 to re-register a vehicle. Those, who paid N48,000 cannot get new number plates except they add N12,000.”
Another official in the Alimosho area of the state said he charges N55,000 for re-registration of a sport utility vehicle.
Asked why the fee was high, he said the government had stopped what he termed the ‘re-reg’ scheme for old vehicles.
The agent stated, “They used to charge N20,000 for re-reg that time, but they have stopped. So, for us to get number plates for those doing re-registration, we adopt the process of new vehicle registration, which costs N30,000.
“For the change of ownership, you need a total of N55,000, in addition to two passports, means of identification, particulars of the vehicle and change of ownership and purchase receipts. Within two weeks, everything will be ready.”
But the General Manager, MVAA, Mrs Lape Kilanko, said the official lied.
According to Kilanko, the state government is still running the re-reg scheme, which costs N12,500 as against the N20,000 stated by the official.
She noted that the total amount for re-registration of a vehicle was N26,325, and not N55,000 or N60,000 as stated by the government worker.
The MVAA boss insisted that there was no scarcity of number plates in the state, adding that standard registration number plates did not also come at additional costs.
For clarity, PUNCH Metro gave an example of a Honda Crosstour for re-registration and demanded its cost implications.
She said, “The change of ownership process will require a letter of authorisation to transfer ownership, a police report for the change of ownership, sworn affidavit for the change of ownership, Central Motor Registry payment, valid means of identification of the new owner and an updated vehicle licence.”
According to her, the change of ownership fee is N2,500; Capital Gains Tax, N625; number plate, N12,500; pre-registration inspection fee (by the Vehicle Inspection Service Directorate), N3,800; Central Motor Registry, N1,000; administrative charges, N2,000; and vehicle licence, N3,900.
She said the total cost was N26,325.
The general manager noted that it would take 20 to 30 minutes for the registration of new vehicles and 48 hours for the completion of the change of ownership.
Investigation by PUNCH Metro revealed that a long chain of corruption involving officials of the agency was responsible for the differences in the rates charged.
“At every stage of the process, officials of the MVAA hike the official rates to line their own pockets,” a source said.
A client representative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said unless the government made vehicle registration and re-registration a one-stop process, the fraud would continue.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr Olawale Musa, said the government would look into the issues.