#Article (Archive)

ECOWAS Brown Card fraught with forgeries

Apr 28, 2014, 9:47 AM

The Point newspaper covered and reported on the zonal 6th extraordinary general assembly on the ECOWAS Brown Card Scheme, which ended Friday in Banjul, after it was successfully hosted by the national bureau of the scheme in The Gambia. See page 3 for our report at the end of the three-day forum.

For the benefit of our readers, and the general public, we also believe it is important to report the following:

We learned that the ECOWAS Brown Card initiative “has been fraught with forgeries”, and that “the situation is causing challenges to the effective management of the insurance scheme in the sub-region”.

This was revealed, according to a news report, during a day’s stakeholders’ capacity building workshop on the scheme, held in Ghana just before the Brown Card meeting in Banjul.

The report went on to state that the scheme is a common system for the settlement of claims arising from international motor vehicle traffic accidents. The initiative is expected to lead to a desirable harmonization between member countries to the protocol of the laws and regulations governing liability in respect to motor vehicle accident.

The existence of the fake Brown Cards is defeating the purpose of the scheme, since victims of motor accidents caused by holders of fake Brown Cards cannot be compensated. The fake cards also make the scheme lose huge income.

Thus there is a need to sensitise stakeholders on the role of the security agencies and transport stakeholders in the implementation of the scheme; on the features of the new secured ECOWAS Brown Card, and claims procedures, the report added.

Indeed, the role of transport stakeholders, and the security agencies as partners of the scheme in safeguarding ECOWAS citizens and promoting trade in the sub-region cannot be overemphasized.

The main objective of the scheme is to ensure prompt and fair compensation to victims of motor accidents caused by a non-citizen motorist visiting their territory from other ECOWAS members states. Hence, the system guarantees a motor insurance cover which leads to the realisation of the free movement objectives of ECOWAS.

The new Brown Card, a single leaflet, has security features that cannot be seen with the unaided eye. The new card is also an improved certificate which is expected to curb the used of fake Brown Cards in the sub-region.

The participants at the workshop in Ghana included representatives of the customs service, chamber of commerce, transport unions, road safety commission and the police.

It was pointed out that law enforcement agencies must be alert to check the validity of Brown Cards presented to them by motorists crossing our borders, since it is a security risk to allow a vehicle without valid cover of insurance into the country.

Motorists are also advised not to cross the borders without acquiring a brown card from their insurance companies, because it is for their own protection.

"Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud".