Despite vehicle licensing already under LTA, law to legalise move introduced this week


Minister of Police and Prisons Faualo Lefau Harry Schuster yesterday introduced an expedited measure to transfer the authority for the licensing of vehicles back to the Land Transport Authority from the Police. 

This was made known in Parliament yesterday.

He explained the current law as it stands, the Commissioner of Police has the sole authority to designate a government entity to oversee the licensing of vehicles, allocating traffic fines for unlicensed vehicles among other responsibilities for public and private transportation. 

According to the Minister, the purpose of the Police is law enforcement, the safety of our people and their properties and the reduction of the crime rate.  

Faualo however explained the issuing of traffic citations and collection of such fines should remain with the Police as it is their role to enforce traffic laws, but not the licensing of vehicles.

Despite the law was introduced this week, last year July, vehicle registration and licensing and driver’s license services will be transferred again to the Land Transport Authority. 

This was confirmed in a notice issued by the LTA. 

“These services will continue to operate from Vaitele and Salelologa at the LTA premises. Normal opening hours from Monday to Friday” says the notice. 

In December 2021 Minister of Police and Prisons, Faualo Harry Schuster said the traffic division will remain with the Ministry of Police while the registration of vehicles will be transferred back to the Land and Transport Authority.

At that time, the Minister confirmed the driver’s license and registration of vehicles will be transferred back to the LTA. 

However, the law enforcement aspect of Traffic will remain under the umbrella of the police.

The Minister added that enforcement should remain with the police they have the authority to carry out their mandates by law.

Faualo emphasized that traffic is a duty that is conducted by every police officer, not just those in the Traffic Division.

In 2018 the L.T.A. was forced to offer redundancy packages to some of its Traffic Division staff after the previous Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) administration transferred its functions to the Ministry of Police. Another staff was transferred to other Ministries while others resigned.

In 2018 the former Commissioner of Police, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, wrote to the then Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi to request an amendment to the Road Traffic Act 2009, empowering police to issue their own traffic infringement notices; issue citations and secure revenue generated from traffic fines.

The law was passed in 2019 and the Police Service gained responsibilities such as for the registration of vehicles and licensing of drivers.