Ninety one people could be charged for fraudulent practices related to issuance of motor vehicle driving licences going by an Anti-Corruption Commission’s investigation.

The report was forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).

Of the 91 people, three are traffic police personnel and seven are officials of Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA).

According to ACC, the police personnel and RSTA officials have issued ordinary driving licence (ODL) professional driving licences (PDL) and changed vehicle ownerships without fulfilling due processes. They were accused of accepting bribery and fraudulent practises.

The traffic police personnel and RSTA officials have also upgraded PDL to a higher drive-type without following due procedures. “Such illegal perpetrations occurred due to exhortation, negligence or planned intention,” the report stated.

On June 1, 2018, two RSTA officials signed documents and approved the issuance to ODL to a woman, who did not even sit for the driving test. 

On June 18, 2018, two officials approved ODL to another individual in Thimphu, an official approved a PDL and two officials in Tsimasham and Gedu approved an ODL to an individual.

A private individual was alleged of forging 36 fake national certificate level 2 (NC-2) for himself and others. He collected Nu 671,000 from people who availed the fake certificates. Since he did not have the skills and capacity to design and print the fake certificates, he sought help from a couple, who owned a private printing firm. He also made fake seal of labour ministry’s Department of Professional Standards.

The investigation also revealed that two police personnel had collected Nu 168,000 from 13 people and forged a car sale deed by taking Nu 5,000 from the owner. Another police personnel collected Nu 137,700 from 12 people to process licences fraudulently.

In March 2016, the labour ministry and RSTA conducted a bilateral meeting to improve the quality of the driving courses private driving training institutes provided. In the meeting, members from both agencies agreed that PDL courses offered by private driving training institutes should be accredited by the Department of Occupational Standards (DoS).

The RSTA then suspended the PDL training outsourced to driving training institutes and announced that commercial driving licences will be issued only to those who have successfully passed the national assessment accredited driving training institutes.

Professional driving course was accredited from August 2016 with a new curriculum for two months training after which the candidates are assessed for their competencies in theoretical and practical aspects. Successful candidates were issued with NC-2 for PDL by DoS. “The certificates have unique numbering as a security feature which is linked with its serial number, this assures that two genuine certificates issued by MoLHR will not have the same certificate and serial number. MoLHR maintained a record of the certificated issues.”

ACC claimed that their investigation team used the security feature as the basis to ascertain the genuineness of the certificates.

It stated that despite having a clear consensus drawn among agencies concerned, some RSTA officials continued issuing taxi driving licences based on the course certificates issued by driving institutes.

ACC investigation revealed that 709 taxi driving licenses were issued from August 2016 to November 2018, of which 404 were issued based on NC-2, 47 PDLs issued on request of RBG, 158 issued based on course certificates issued by driving training institutes before August 2016, 12 on certificates from technical training institutes, 12 on other categories of NC, 45 based on fake NC-2 and 10 on fake course certificates.

The ACC report also stated 17 PDLs were issued incorrectly by RSTA officials, one for test print and another for official purpose. “Two PDLs were issued before August 2016 without following the due process.”

It stated that the investigation team could not get documents for five individuals who were issued PDLs because of poor documentation at the RSTA.

ACC’s probable charges include passive bribery to public servant, forgery, participation in an offence, passive commercial bribery, commission amounting to an abuse of function, solicitation and aiding and abetting to forgery for the 91 people involved in the case.

Tashi Dema