Monday, 18 April 2016

FRSC Can No Longer Fine Motorists, Court Rules



A federal high court in Lagos has declared void powers of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to impose fines on motorists for traffic offences.
John Tsoho, a judge, held that the commission could not turn itself into a court of law by punishing those who commit traffic offences.

Tope Alabi, a lawyer, had approached the court to declare that only a court of competent jurisdiction could pronounce a person guilty under section 10 (4) and 28 (2) of the FRSC Act 2007.
Other defendant in the suit was the attorney-general of the federation.
The judge also awarded N1million damages in favour of the plaintiff because officials of the FRSC had confiscated his vehicle and driver’s licence.
Tosho said while FRSC was statutorily empowered to arrest and fine traffic offenders, a closer look at the definition of the word “fine” meant a pecuniary criminal punishment or civil penalty payable to the public treasury.
“In the instant case, however, the involvement of the element of arrest takes the imposition of fine by the FRSC to the realm of criminal punishment,” he said.
“From these definitions, it is obvious that the act of sentencing is a judicial action or exercise, and imposition of fine connotes conviction for an alleged offence.
“It is, thus, very clear that the FRSC, not being a court of law, cannot impose fine, especially as it has no powers to conduct trial.