TRA opens one-stop centre for vehicle registration By JOSEPH MWAMUNYANGE THE EAST AFRICAN Posted Sunday, November 2 2008 at 16:00 Fresh from losing motor vehicle registration certificates to an international syndicate, the Tanzania Revenue Authority has now opened a one-stop centre at Mayai House to handle issues pertaining to all motor cars and other motorised vehicles. Moving to Mayai House is line with our vision to become an efficient and modern tax administration organisation that responds timely to what the market needs, said Protas Mmanda, the Director for Taxpayer Education. According to Mr Mmanda, the previous arrangement where customers were made to visit four different offices to complete formalities to do with registration, licensing or change of ownership of vehicles will now be a thing of the past. The Taxpayer Education Department will also have an office at Mayai House. We have stationed some of our people at the new offices because we feel it is easier to get feedback and receive complaints from clients and deal with them there and then, said Mr Mmanda. He admitted that TRA is yet to figure out how to rid the process of people masquerading as middlemen: It is very difficult to tell if one is an impostor, but we urge the public to deal only with TRA officers and not middlemen, he said. Mayai House is one of the oldest buildings in Dar es Salaams Central Business District and is protected by the Antiquities Act. It was built by the Germans and used by the British as government offices to collect revenue. It was left unattended after the TRA stopped using it. The rehabilitated Mayai House has created a one-stop shop for new registrations, relicensing, change or transfer of ownership and issuance of driving licenses, he said. Previously, some of the duties being done by the TRA were handled by Treasury at the Ministry of Finance. He said that by bringing all these function under one roof, the TRA has been able to create a database but was still holding on to physical documents in case there was a failure with our computer system. This would be gradually phased out. Mr Mmanda said the issue of pretenders was one of the immediate challenges, because whenever clients are conned the blame is heaped on the TRA hence the need to reduce the number of complaints. The TRA is currently working with CRDB Bank Ltd so that clients receiving services at Mayai House can in future pay and be attended to in same building. Since we dont receive cash, our clients are presently required to pay at the bank and then come to TRA with the receipt in order to be attended to by our officers, but this will change once CRDB Bank opens a branch, said Mr Mmanda. In September, the Tanzania Revenue Authority lost motor vehicles registration cards in a theft that was said to have involved an international syndicate. Detectives from the Tanzania police and TRA investigation officers grilled some suspects said to have knowledge of the theft of the cards. Up to 15 motor vehicles of various models and types were at risk of genuine but stolen cards after fraudsters breached the security system of the TRA and made away with blank motor vehicle registrations cards that were sold through an underground network controlled by the local accomplices. Investigations by The EastAfrican then revealed that the most of the genuine cards stolen from the authority were being used to register stolen cars entering the country from South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia and United Kingdom. It emerged that organised criminal groups had recruited TRA officers who were experts in computer technology to assist in their registration of the vehicles whose cards were being stolen from the authority. The TRA mandated with the responsibility to register vehicles in the country. It has procedures in place that should prevent stolen cars being registered and resold. According to the Authority, it has discovered that some of the motor vehicles that are sold in the market use falsified documents from Government institutions, NGO and as well as forged TRA documents a practice that amounts to Tax fraud. During investigations carried out from July 2006 to December 2007, the TRA identified that plate numbers, which are mounted on some of these motor vehicles, might not belong to the motor vehicle under sale. The Authority has so far impounded several motor vehicles, which have been renewed with these falsified licenses.