Heads Will Roll, Warns Minister

Po­lice Di­rec­tor of Traf­fic links racket to poor driving stan­dards among young driv­ers

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - CHARLES CHAM­BERS and ASHNA KUMAR LAUTOKA, SUVA

Parveen Kumar has warned “heads will roll” in the al­leged driving li­cence scam. The Minister for Transport said he was con­cerned about a Fiji Sun re­port on al­leged cor­rupt prac­tices of some driving school in­struc­tors and a Land Transport Author­ity ex­am­iner.

At the same time, Di­rec­tor of Traf­fic Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice Ma­hesh Mishra, has linked the al­leged scam to the poor stan­dard of driving among young peo­ple. He said it was a se­ri­ous con­cern to them and he called on the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties to con­duct an in-depth in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Mr Kumar said in­ves­ti­ga­tions

would def­i­nitely be con­ducted. He said if there was some­one or some peo­ple in LTA in­volved in this, heads would roll. He said no one would be spared. “How­ever I can­not com­ment fur­ther un­til I have re­ceived the re­port from the chair­man (Mr Ma­haraj),” he said. In a sur­vey con­ducted at ran­dom, the Fiji Sun has un­cov­ered an al­leged scam where an LTA ex­am­iner told our news­pa­per em­ployee that he was pre­pared to ac­cept $550 in cash to give the em­ployee a full driving li­cence (Group 2) with­out sit­ting a De­fen­sive Driving Course.

Five driving school in­struc­tors, who were also in­ter­viewed at ran­dom, told the em­ployee that li­cence would be given whether the em­ployee passed or failed the test, claim­ing they had con­nec­tions at LTA. SSP Mishra said: “It is a ma­jor con­cern for the Po­lice force. There has been an in­crease in traf­fic of­fences and fa­tal ac­ci­dents com­mit­ted by the young driv­ers in­clud­ing pro­vi­sional li­cence hold­ers.”

He stated that Fiji was cur­rently record­ing the high­est num­ber of book­ings and of­fences made by young driv­ers in Fiji. He said they were con­cerned about the poor driving skills and bad at­ti­tude of young driv­ers. “They are not be­ing tested in the right man­ner and pro­ce­dure,” SSP Mishra said.

The traf­fic statis­tics show a to­tal of 358 dif­fer­ent types of of­fences and er­rors com­mit­ted by driv­ers be­tween the age of 16 and 25 in 2013, while 266 of­fences were com­mit­ted in 2014. LTA Board chair, lawyer Vi­jay Ma­haraj, said he had asked his au­thor­i­ties to pro­vide the num­ber of driving school per­mit hold­ers for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions. “This is a se­ri­ous mat­ter and we are in­ves­ti­gat­ing fur­ther to stop the public from get­ting into bribery and cor­rup­tion as the al­leged in­struc­tors and ex­am­in­ers are deal­ing with money se­cretly,” Mr Ma­haraj said.

This is a se­ri­ous mat­ter and we are in­ves­ti­gat­ing fur­ther to stop public from get­ting into bribery and cor­rup­tion as the al­leged in­struc­tors and ex­am­iner are deal­ing with money se­cretly

Vi­jay Ma­haraj

LTA Board chair

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