Accountability and Integrity (AMAN) held a session to discuss its report on The Environment of Integrity, Transparency and Accountability in the Operations of the Directorate General of Traffic Police and Licensing Authority in the Gaza Strip. The report came up with a number of recommendations on the applicable legal and institutional frameworks. In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Transportation (MoT) should consolidate the legal framework, which regulates functions of the Licensing Authority. Amendments will also be introduced to the Bylaw of the Traffic Law in force in the West Bank. The Gaza-based MoT should adhere to the legal licensing fees of vehicles, drivers, and driving schools. The Ministry should respect the constitutional norms, by which fees can only be levied or modified through a law making process.
The MoT will issue forth instructions to put into effect the Code of Professional Conduct, which the Gaza-Based General Personnel Council released in 2016. AMAN also called on the MoT to rejuvenate and restructure the Higher Council for Traffic, ensuring adequate civil society representation.
The report stresses the need that the Gaza-based MoT develop an anti-corruption policy in view of the fact that it is the public service provider with the highest collection rate. A policy on the prevention of conflicts of interest in civil service needs to be made and applied to service providers that most frequently come into contact with citizens, including the Licensing Authority. A special regulation will be published, providing that the MoT staff submit financial disclosure statements before they are appointed. These statements will be kept in relevant personnel files. A legal and institutional framework for will also be in pace to regulate financial disclosure statements across the civil service sector.
Addressing accountability, discussants highlighted the importance of establishing a complaints unit, which will mainly report to the MoT Undersecretary. In addition to maintaining contact with complainants, the unit will be responsible for handling, referring and verifying complaints. The MoT and Higher Council for Traffic will issue forth a procedure manual on traffic violations, providing a list of traffic violations and fines imposed on each, to preclude nepotism, favouritism, or excessive restraints.
The report identifies any challenges or gaps that obstruct an effective and efficient environment of integrity, transparency and accountability within the Traffic Police and MoT Directorate General of Licensing in the Gaza Strip. Practical recommendations are made to overcome challenges and bridge gaps, and immunise the Gaza-based security establishment against any practices or forms of corruption, which influence impartial and independent functions. Corruption also affects the environment of integrity, transparency and accountability, obstructing follow up on cases of corruption or complaints filed against Police and security officers. The report also provides a review of fee collection by the Traffic Police and MoT Directorate General of Licensing with a view to identifying current strengths and weaknesses. In addition to lessons learnt, workable recommendations are set to consolidate complementary functions between the two agencies.