Wed | Jan 16, 2019

MOCA nabs exam depot workers on corruption rap

Published:Friday | November 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Corey Robinson, Staff Reporter

AT LEAST two employees from local motor vehicle depots have been taken into custody by the Major Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Agency (MOCA), as the police continue their investigation into a widespread corruption racket at examination facilities across the island.

The Gleaner has learned the aliases of the two men who are allegedly employed to the Spanish Town and Swallowfield examination depots in St Catherine and St Andrew, respectfully, but has chosen not to release their names as formal charges have not yet been brought against them by the police.

"They were taken in because they are involved in corruption within the motor vehicle examination depot," a Gleaner source said yesterday. "Information is that the police are now on their way to arrest two more people (in a rural parish)."

Charges not clear

According to the source, the men's flashy and exuberant lifestyles caught the attention of MOCA, which commenced an investigation into their deeds. It was not clear what charges were to be laid against them yesterday as the police attempted to keep information regarding their arrests hushed.

Ludlow Powell, director of the Island Traffic Authority, the agency with responsibility for the island's examination depots, said yesterday afternoon he was not aware of any of his employees being arrested by the police.

"I am not aware of that. I am hearing this for the first time; this is news to me," Powell told The Gleaner.

However, when asked about measures to deal with corruption at the depots, Powell said: "There is a development going on which I suspect might answer your question within the next 48 hours or so."

He added: "But I will leave it for MOCA to come out and speak about it. After they have done that, then I will speak.

"I can tell you that it has more to do with the other agencies than it has to do with the Island Traffic Authority," said Powell, identifying Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), as one of the entities with interest in the probe.

Inspector Dahlia Garrick, MOCA communication officer, when contacted yesterday afternoon, said: "There is nothing I can tell you at this point."

Meris Haughton, director of communications at the TAJ, said she was not aware of the arrests of the two instructors, but noted that the TAJ has been working with MOCA representatives since early this year.

"Normally, for something like this, we will direct it to the Revenue Protection Division (RPD). I know that the RPD has been working with MOCA since earlier this year, some persons were arrested and the investigation is ongoing. But I don't know of any recent arrests," she said.

Earlier this year, MOCA arrested at least four persons in connection with their probe of irregularities surrounding the granting of new and upgraded drivers' licences. At least one motor vehicle examiner was arrested in those earlier operations.