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ICAC report finds bribery issues in driver licensing sector

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A damning ICAC report has found a “pattern of wrongdoing” among some individuals within the driver licensing industry and says the systems in place to prevent corruption are “less than adequate”.

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In a report tabled in parliament on Tuesday, Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Ann Vanstone said she had “no doubt” that bribery was a problem within the driver licensing sector.

The report, titled Failing the Corruption Road Test, stemmed from more than 40 complaints referred by the Office of Public Integrity to the ICAC about the conduct of members within the industry.

Among the forms of inappropriate behaviour found by the ICAC were people in the industry accepting bribes, omitting mandatory components of driving tests and inappropriately issuing certificates of competency.

“I have formed the view that there has been a pattern of wrongdoing over time among some individuals serving as authorised examiners appointed by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles for the purpose of conducting practical driving tests,” Vanstone said in her foreword.

“It is this broader picture of patterns in behaviour that suggests the controls in place to prevent corruption in the driver licensing industry are less than adequate.”

The report also drew on the findings of a 2017 review that found 85 per cent of survey participants from the driving licensing industry said they were aware of corruption.

The ICAC makes nine recommendations to the Department of Infrastructure and Transport to improve its auditing and oversight processes.

Vanstone also used the report to criticise laws that sailed through parliament last year circumscribing her office’s powers and limiting OPI complaint referrals to the ICAC unless they are deemed a potential instance of corruption.

“While the OPI continues to receive complaints and reports about public administration, including authorised examiners, I do not have access to that information unless the complaint is referred to me as potential corruption,” she said.

“There was enormous value in having access to the information contained in complaints and reports received by the OPI.

“Together with intelligence gained through corruption investigations, it is this information that presents a holistic picture of corruption risks across the public sector and the environments that allow corrupt activity to thrive.”

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