August 11, 2016 5:22 pm

LTA and FICAC probes alleged corrupt practices of officers

Members of the Land Transport Authority (LTA) Board met today to discuss the recent media reports regarding alleged corrupt practices of some driving school instructors involving an LTA examiner. The article stated that the LTA board would investigate new claims of alleged corrupt practices in obtaining a driving license following the findings of a random survey of […]

Members of the Land Transport Authority (LTA) Board met today to discuss the recent media reports regarding alleged corrupt practices of some driving school instructors involving an LTA examiner.

LTA Board members (from left) Aptinko Vaurasi, Commissioner of Police Brigadier- General Sitiveni Qiliho, Vijay Maharaj, Permanent Secretary for Transport Paul Bayley, Ashok Patel and LTA Chief Executive Officer Naisa Tuinaceva during the press conference today. (Salote Qalubau/Newswire)
LTA Board members (from left) Aptinko Vaurasi, Commissioner of Police Brigadier- General Sitiveni Qiliho, Vijay Maharaj, Permanent Secretary for Transport Paul Bayley, Ashok Patel and LTA Chief Executive Officer Naisa Tuinaceva during the press conference today. (Salote Qalubau/Newswire)

The article stated that the LTA board would investigate new claims of alleged corrupt practices in obtaining a driving license following the findings of a random survey of some driving schools and an interview with an LTA examiner.

Board chairman Vijay Maharaj said that LTA is conducting its own internal investigations and had requested assistance from the Fiji Independent Commission for Corruption (FICAC) after the media organisation refused to submit the evidence.

MAHARAJ: “Now probably the money exchange was in cash and there was no witness because all parties are benefiting from it and I think this is where it becomes incumbent for the press if they have this kind of information, give us this information to help us so that we can do our own investigation and take these people to task.”

LTA Board members (right) Vijay Maharaj stresses a point during the press conference today. (Salote Qalubau/Newswire)
LTA Board members Brig-Gen Sitiveni Qiliho Vijay Maharaj during a press conference today. (Salote Qalubau/Newswire)

MAHARAJ: “We are implementing a number of measures and are now into our computer system reading whereby the oral test will be done through the computer so that there is no human interaction because I think a lot of this bribery and corruption takes place when there is a lot of  interaction. We will be aggressively looking into this allegation and doing our own investigation.”

LTA chief executive officer Naisa Tuinaceva said the LTA was firm in its stance for zero tolerance on corruption.

TUINACEVA: “Somebody is trying is beat the system now, its always the case when somebody tries to violate provisions. We are going back to technology to assist us  so cases where they is collusion between the instructors and the driving schools, the system will do the verification before we can give the yes or the no.”

Mr Tuinaceva said as part of the new system, trainee drivers after undergoing tests with their driving school will have to undergo a computer test after which a practical training test will be carried out if they pass the test.

TUINACEVA: That is what we are trying to put into place to try and see the gaps that are coming up now where allegations of corruption and bribery are coming from. For any complaints towards our LTA officers that goes through our process where we will be investigating those that we feel should be handed over to police and also that needs the attention of the FICAC.”

“But for the investigation of our officers, any complaint is taken seriously and is processed.”

Meanwhile, findings are expected to be submitted to the Land Transport Authority management board by the end of this week.