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* Independent Commission to probe malpractices in printing new driving licenses
Thu, Dec 26, 2019, 12:27 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 25, Colombo: The attention of Minister of Transport has been directed to alleged frauds in the contract to issue new driving license introduced by the Department of Motor Registration.

Accordingly Minister of Transport, Power and Energy Mahinda Amaraweera has decided to appoint an Independent Commission to investigate oversight in to issuing drivers licenses

The Department of Motor Vehicle Registration had given a contract to a private company to develop a computer system and information system for printing the driving licenses, implement the system within the contract period and transfer the system to the department.

However, the relevant private company which accepted the contract had failed to comply with the terms of the agreement. It has been found that the government had incurred a loss of 4 billion rupees.

A group of officials of the department had a discussion with the Minister of Transport yesterday (24th) and at the meeting the group noted that the loss incurred by the government has been completely transferred to the public.

According to the present audit reports, for the period from 2009 to 2017, the supplier was paid Rs. 7467.65 million and after the expiration of the agreement, another Rs. 1856.65 million had been paid.

However, the total amount paid by the department for the creation of a computer system and information system for printing of a driving license, operating within the contract period and the acquisition of that system by the department is Rs. 5,610,749,042 million.

Minister Amaraweera continuously inquired from the responsible officials regarding the matter yesterday and they acknowledged that there had been some financial fraud and delays. According to the officials, the government has lost Rs. 1.75 billion.

When the new driver's license was introduced, an electronic chip, which has no use to the country, has been included in the license, but any devices that could benefit from the chip have not been introduced to the traffic police.

Also it has been discovered that the private contractor has benefited by charging 1300 rupees instead of 300 Rupees for a new driving license.

Since the arrangement has caused a large amount of money laundering and the government has lost a large sum of money, The Minister said that steps would be taken to investigate and blacklist the relevant company in order to prevent the company from operating in Sri Lanka.

The Minister said that an independent commission would be appointed to investigate the scam.


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