BEIRUT — The vehicle registration center in Dekwaneh, an eastern suburb of Beirut, and in its affiliated departments in Saida (South), Zahle (Beqaa), Nabatieh (South) and Tripoli (North), will resume work Tuesday, the Interior Ministry announced in a statement Saturday.
Lebanon's vehicle registration centers experienced widespread closure in 2022, after what a tweet from the Grand Serail described as a mass arrest of employees on corruption charges.
Some of the tens of arrested registration center employees were later released, but work at the centers remained suspended.
The re-opening of vehicle registration centers comes as part of the “implementation of the plan [to gradually normalise] workflow in the Traffic, Machinery and Vehicles Management Authority, and after overcoming financial, administrative and logistical obstacles,” the statement explained.
The statement said that centers will operate three days a week, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. according to the following guidelines:
- Imported (used and new) cars being registered for the first time (according to a customs certificate), whose chassis numbers end with 0 - 1 - 2 - 3, can be registered Tuesdays.
- Imported (used and new) cars being registered for the first time (according to a customs certificate), whose chassis numbers end with 4 - 5 - 6, can be registered Wednesdays.
- Imported (used and new) cars being registered for the first time (according to a customs certificate), whose chassis numbers end with 7 - 8 - 9, can be registered Thursdays.
“Imported new cars, according to what is marked on the customs certificate pertaining to them, are exempted from technical inspection at the [center], and their owners must submit their transactions directly to the registration department without bringing their vehicles to the vehicle registration center or its affiliated departments,” the statement concluded.
Caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi had said in March that a decision was made to "enable the Dikwaneh registration center and [those] in other areas to function and to simplify the paperwork."
Among the steps taken, Mawlawi shared a plan to train 30 Internal Security Forces officers i the skills needed to operate the vehicle registration center's informatics.
Numerous arrest warrants have been issued in recent months as part of a wide-ranging investigation into corruption in vehicle registration centers. Several high-ranking employees are being prosecuted, including Hoda Salloum, the general director of the road traffic department.
Arrests have also been made recently among employees in Mount Lebanon districts. Officials in those departments, especially in Baabda and Metn, who allegedly amassed huge sums through bribes from taxpayers, are currently being prosecuted.