Two road transport companies in Gabon have been suspended for failing to enforce anti-coronavirus measures put in place by the government.
According to the Pilot Committee for the Fight Against the COVID-19 popularly known by the French acronym (COPIL-CORONAVIRUS), the two transport agencies, “Major Transport” and “Le Transporteur Voyages” carried passengers who tested positive for the coronavirus, increased transport fares without authorisation, and corrupted law enforcement officers to close their eyes to the infractions.
The indefinite suspensions take effect from Wednesday, Oct. 13.
“Dear customers, we wish to inform you that we have been closed by COPIL for an unspecified period,” a notice put at the various agencies of “Le Transporteur Voyages” throughout the national territory read.
A mixed team of COPIL and transport ministry officials is said to have carried out unannounced checks at various transport agencies where the defaulting agencies were caught red-handed before deciding to close down those found wanting in respect of anti-coronavirus regulations in force.
A COPIL official who opted for anonymity because he is not the official spokesperson of the outfit told HumAngle in Libreville, the Gabonese capital, that besides the two travel agencies already punished, several others are being targeted and would soon also join the ranks of suspended agencies.
“They have been doing business on the back of the health crises by putting the lives of several persons in the country in danger for the sake of money,” the COPIL official declared.
Travel agencies in the country are being accused of increasing transport fares for individuals found not to be in possession of negative COVID-19 test results nor the travel laissez-passer. Such passengers are charged 25,000 FCFA (about 50 US dollars) for the journey between Libreville and Bitam as against the normal fare of 18,000 FCFA (about 36 US dollars).
“This price increase in transport fares is explained away by the agencies which say they have to systematically bribe traffic gendarmes in order to let them pass with persons in irregular situations,” said a member of the mixed control team.
“By doing so, they allow persons who are the cause of deaths in the interior of the country to go to other parts of the nation and cause mass contamination of other citizens as has been the case in Oyem and Makokou. Epidemiological studies have proved this to be the case.”
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