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You are here: Home Investigating corruption Past investigations Case study: Corruption in vehicle licensing puts public safety at risk
You are here: Home Investigating corruption Past investigations Case study: Corruption in vehicle licensing puts public safety at risk
You are here: Home Investigating corruption Past investigations Case study: Corruption in vehicle licensing puts public safety at risk

Case study: Corruption in vehicle licensing puts public safety at risk

Illegally providing licences, licence upgrades or vehicle registrations to people who are prohibited from having them or do not have the necessary training is not only fraud. It also jeopardises public safety by allowing people and vehicles to be on the road that otherwise would not be there.

A former casual employee of the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) was convicted in early November 2016 for fraudulently issuing driver licences, licence upgrades and vehicle registrations in return for cash payments. She was sentenced to four years imprisonment to serve six months, after which the sentence is suspended for four years.

Over an 18-month period between 1 July 2012 and 13 December 2013, the former DTMR employee, Sheree Jane Tritton, fraudulently issued or transferred 31 vehicle registrations and issued or upgraded 57 driver licences, and received at least $20,000 in cash for the fraudulent transactions. Many of those who received the licence upgrades were not qualified or trained to operate the vehicles that the licence authorised them to drive on public roads. This offending was therefore not only corrupt and criminal in itself but put public safety at significant risk.

The employee ran the scheme with the assistance of others who acted as intermediaries by facilitating licences and upgrades for their friends and associates. When her employment ceased, she attempted to corrupt former colleagues by offering them money to fraudulently process other driver licence applications.

Two associates of Tritton were also charged with official corruption offences for participating in the scheme. One received a custodial sentence of three years, with immediate parole, and the other is still before the court. Forty-four other people charged by the CCC have been convicted of fraud offences for paying for and receiving the fraudulently issued licences and upgrades.

In her work at a DTMR customer service centre, Tritton took advantage of a local practice not endorsed by the department not to audit particular types of licence upgrade approvals. The decision at the local level not to follow departmental policies and procedures exposed the customer service centre to a corruption risk that ultimately paved the way for her corrupt conduct to go on undetected for 18 months.

On 24 June 2015 the CCC wrote to the Director-General of DTMR recommending improvements to the organisation’s fraud control framework for the issuing and upgrading of licences. Areas of concern included practices around business exceptions, systems of authenticating documents including New Zealand driver licences, personnel records, supervision and training.

DTMR fully cooperated with the CCC during its investigation.

Last updated: 22 May 2017

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