Pay-for-clearance racket smashed 28 Puspakom officers nabbed

All information on Puspakom and its vehicle inspection etc

Pay-for-clearance racket smashed 28 Puspakom officers nabbed

Postby admin » Wed Aug 27, 2008 9:52 am

ACA nabs 28 Puspakom officers and 19 runners in biggest swoop ever. More arrests are expected. Tens of thousands of vehicles approved as roadworthy by these officers now face recall for re-inspection.

PUTRAJAYA: In the largest swoop ever by the Anti-Corruption Agency, 28 Puspakom officers were arrested on suspicion of accepting bribes.

The arrests were made in 10 states and Kuala Lumpur since Sunday.

The ACA also arrested 19 runners believed to have bribed the officers for certifying vehicles as road-worthy without conducting inspections.

Tens of thousands of vehicles which were approved by the 28 officers now face a recall for re-inspection.

More arrests are expected to be made in the next few days.

The ACA operation was carried out with assistance from the national vehicle inspection company.

ACA investigation director Datuk Shukri Abdull said the arrested Puspakom officers were either traffic wardens or vehicle examiners.

"Since Sunday until 2pm (yesteray), with the cooperation of Puspakom, we arrested 47 people all over the country.

"The arrests are in relation to cases of inspection of problematic vehicles without following procedures and giving approvals without inspecting the vehicles."

He told a press conference that the operation started many months ago but was intensified two months ago. Puspakom's chief executive officer Datuk Salamat Wahit was also present.

In Penang, ACA officers arrested one runner and seven Puspakom officers while in Negri Sembilan, one runner and six officers were picked up. Another four runners and seven Puspakom officers were nabbed in Johor.

Arrests were also made in Sabah, Sarawak, Kelantan, Kedah, Perlis, Pahang and Kuala Lumpur.

Initial investigations revealed that the officers received about RM80 for inspecting a problematic vehicle without following procedures and RM400 for approval without inspecting the vehicle.

Salamat said about 20 Puspakom officers had their services terminated early this year over alleged bribery.

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ACA blitz: 55 nabbed, including 28 from Puspakom

Postby admin » Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:49 am

PUTRAJAYA: A total of 55 people, including 28 Puspakom staff, believed to be earning up to an additional RM1,000 each a day "in takings," have been arrested by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) in a nationwide blitz between Tuesday and Wednesday.

The other 27 are agents or runners who are allegedly in cohorts with the centre's traffic wardens and vehicle examiners, who allegedly carry out inspections on "problematic" vehicles without following standard operating procedures.

They also allegedly approved tests on vehicles without actually sending them for inspection.

ACA director of investigations Datuk Shukri Abdull said the agency had conducted an "intelligence-based investigation" for months, which had intensified over the past two months and led to the arrests.

Codenamed "Ops Compact," Shukri said based on investigations, it was believed the culprits charged vehicle owners RM80 to give the thumbs-up when inspecting problematic cars; it cost RM400 to "pass" a vehicle's inspection without it having to be sent to Puspakom.

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PUSPAKOM RACKET: More to be arrested, promises ACA

Postby admin » Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:02 am

MORE Puspakom officers have been arrested by the Anti-Corruption Agency, bringing the tally to 36 officers. The agency swooped in on the eight additional officers this morning with one from Perak, four from Penang and three from Negeri Sembilan.

Two runners from Kedah were also arrested on late yesterday evening, on top of the 19 runners arrested since Sunday. Altogether, the 58 are still being remanded.

They were arrested on the suspicion of running a Puspakom-certification-for-bribes racket.

Tens of thousands approved by the arrested junior and senior officers will now face a recall for re-inspection.

"This is not the last of the arrests. There will be more to come," said the ACA investigation director Datuk Shukri Abdull.

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Graft in Puspakom: Eight more officers held as ops continue

Postby admin » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:41 am

PUTRAJAYA: The crackdown on corrupt Puspakom officers continued with no let-up as eight more were arrested with another two runners yesterday.
The Anti-Corruption Agency warned that yesterday's arrests were not the last.

ACA investigation director Datuk Shukri Abdull said yesterday more arrests were expected as investigations continued with questioning of those nabbed.

So far, 36 officers and 21 runners have been arrested in the nationwide swoop. The arrested officers were either traffic wardens or vehicle examiners.

Yesterday, a Puspakom officer was arrested in Perak, four in Penang and three in Negri Sembilan. All have been remanded.
The Puspakom officers were arrested on suspicion of taking bribes from the runners to certify vehicles as roadworthy.

They were believed to have been paid RM80 for inspecting each problematic vehicle, bypassing proper procedures, and RM400 per vehicle for approval without inspection. Tens of thousands of vehicles certified by the officers now face a recall for re-inspection.

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Graft in Puspakom: Probe RTD as well, says Ong

Postby admin » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:41 am

KUALA LUMPUR: The Anti-Corruption Agency should also investigate the Road Transport Department for graft.
Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat said the RTD was one of two agencies under the ministry in which he would welcome ACA investigations.

Ong refused to name the other agency.

"I want them to move in on these two agencies which have allegations of corruption," he said at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

He said the ministry had received complaints from the public involving blatant demands of money from the agencies' errant staff or officials.

"I don't condone this. Enough is enough," he said, adding that the intervention of ACA would ensure that the various agencies under his ministry were free of graft.

Ong congratulated the agency for its efficiency in arresting Puspakom officers on suspicion of accepting bribes. Ong said the ACA's move was laudable and he wanted this to continue.

He said one of the major complaints received by the ministry regarding Puspakom was the rampant corruption there.

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Graft in Puspakom: How the ACA cracked it wide open

Postby admin » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:42 am

KUALA LUMPUR: They came in as newly-employed staff and made efforts to blend in with Puspakom workers involved in inspecting and certifying vehicles as roadworthy.

For three months, the newbies quietly went about their work, but their eyes and ears were wide open.

They studied every move made by Puspakom staff, seemingly eager to learn the ropes as traffic wardens, administrative staff, personal assistants to senior officers and even "tea boys".

So successful were these newbies that the Puspakom staff didn't know what hit them when in a nationwide blitz, dozens of them were picked up by the Anti-Corruption Agency for accepting bribes to certify the roadworthiness of vehicles without even inspecting them.

The newbies were undercover ACA officers.
A Transport Ministry source said the undercover officers were placed in strategic positions at all Puspakom centres nationwide since May.

"Their job was to zoom in on those accepting bribes from runners and syndicates," she said.

The round-up began on Sunday and continued yesterday.

The source said the bribes were shared by senior and junior officers involved in inspecting vehicles. She said some staff took home RM50,000 every month.

"The majority of those caught were junior officers tempted to take large sums in bribes. The senior officers would later take a cut for certifying the vehicles as roadworthy.

"Officers who have an aversion to bribes succumbed to peer pressure. This is because the corrupt ones need the assistance of everyone involved in inspecting the vehicles," she said.

To send a vehicle for inspection, the owner or the runner will make an appointment with Puspakom. Once the date is fixed, the vehicle owner or his runner has to wait in line for the inspection.

The inspection is carried out in several stages by various staff. Vehicles undergo inspection involving the chassis, smoke emission, tyres and brakes, among others.

"This is why the officers had to work as a team to collect bribes," the source said.

"Some of the certified vehicles were not even at Puspakom centres for the checks," she said.

This is where the senior officers played their role. They "close both eyes" and certify the vehicles as roadworthy.

"Almost everyone will receive a cut. This is why there are so many cars, buses and lorries that are not roadworthy still on the road," she said.

Those involved in giving the bribes are runners who are banded together in syndicates.

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Graft in Puspakom: Puspakom deploys more men but queues buil

Postby admin » Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:43 am

KUALA LUMPUR: Puspakom yesterday deployed additional officers nationwide to ensure smooth operations after 36 officers were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Agency for taking bribes.
Puspakom chief executive officer Datuk Salamat Wahit assured the public that it was business as usual at all its inspection centres as no queues had been reported in any of the states.

"Whichever inspection centre has a high traffic volume of vehicles, staff from other centres will be deployed to that centre. It is an open system which we have adopted for quite a while," he said.

"Some centres have more staff compared with others and the staff are rotated around based on the needs of the centres," Salamat said, adding that 2.8 million vehicles were inspected by Puspakom last year.

However, in Muar, Puspakom operations were temporarily suspended due to a technical glitch yesterday.
Salamat said operations resumed when the system was restored, after which more than 200 vehicles were inspected yesterday.

Lorries and other commercial vehicles from Segamat and Batu Pahat had lined up from 7am.

Many left the centre after several hours when they found out that only two officers were working.

Security guards stopped reporters from going into the Puspakom compound.

A lorry operator from Segamat, who wished to be known as Lim, said he reached the centre at 7am but had to return at noon as he could not wait any longer.

Vehicle owners were also made to wait longer than usual at the Puspakom centre in Mak Mandin, Butterworth. Some had to wait two to three hours.

Lorry driver M. Maniam said he had to wait almost two hours.

"This is very frustrating. I was unable to make a trip scheduled in the afternoon."

Pan Malaysia Lorry Owners' Association president Er Sui See praised the ACA for its fine job.

Er, however, had harsh words for the disruption of services at the Muar Puspakom centre, claiming that it could result in lorry and commercial vehicle operators being detained by police with expired Puspakom discs.

Er said he believed the disruption was linked to the bribery investigation.

He said the government should abolish the monopoly of Puspakom by appointing more companies to do the job so that lorry and commercial operators would not be held to "ransom".

He said Singapore had three companies doing the same job while in Thailand, it was run by the government under its Land Transport Authority and smaller vehicles could be inspected by more than 2,000 workshops.

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Long, long wait at inspection centres in Johor

Postby admin » Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:04 am

JOHOR BARU: A massive congestion took place at various Puspakom centres in the state where some drivers waited for hours to get their vehicles inspected.

Lorry driver Rosli Selamat said he had been waiting for three hours at the Puspakom centre in Taman Daya here and the queue was hardly moving.

“Usually, I am here at about 10am and the inspection will be completed before lunch,” said the 38-year-old.

He said there would normally be four lanes open but he only saw two Puspakom staff manning the lanes yesterday.

Another lorry driver, K. Nadarajan, said he heard that the service was slow because Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) officers were there.

For Halifah Mohd Yunus, who drives regularly to Singapore, the wait was more difficult than queuing at the causeway.

“I do not know if I will get my turn today because my assigned number is 595 and I am still lining up far away from the centre,” he said.

A check at the Muar Puspakom in Parit Bakar also revealed similar congestion.

According to a senior Puspakom officer, about five workers did not turn up for work, adding that rumours of a boycott or protest by the staff were untrue.

There are four Puspakom centres in Johor, one each in Muar and Kluang and two in Johor Baru.

Pan Malaysian Lorry Owners’ Association president Er Sui See said Puspakom chief executive officer Datuk Salamat Wahit should be held responsible for corrupt practices of the staff and resign for corrupt practices at its computerised vehicle inspection centres.

He said the CEO, who had been serving Puspakom for many years, failed to curb the practices despite complaints from many parties.

He urged the Government to remove the monopoly on Puspakom and allow more companies to operate such inspection centres.

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Probe JPJ too, ACA told

Postby admin » Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:06 am

KUALA LUMPUR: Now that the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) has started its blitz on Puspakom, it should also go for other agencies under the Transport Ministry, particularly the Road Transport Department (JPJ), according to Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat.

Ong said he wanted more collaboration with the ACA, adding that he had had enough of complaints of corruption in the agencies.

“We need to beef up our cooperation with ACA. I may want the ACA to move in on one or two more agencies that are purportedly haunted by charges of corruption,” he said.

“Yes, one of this is JPJ. I don’t wish to sound discriminatory against anyone but I want to make sure the various agencies related to the ministry are cleared.

“We would definitely want more action by ACA to be taken,” he told reporters in the Parliament lobby here yesterday.

Lauding the ACA blitz on Puspakom, Ong said the vehicle-inspection centre would ban runners or vendors from its premises.

He said he had come to know that some people were exploiting “opportunities to ‘arm-twist’ members of the public.”

“This must be stopped. Vendors are no longer allowed to market certain products relating to vehicle inspection at Puspakom premises,” he said.

Ong said the ACA action was necessary as he had received many complaints of alleged corruption via e-mail and text messages.

“Many were, however, reluctant to substantiate their allegations. So, we need to find an alternative to book these errant officers,” he said.

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ACA blitz will improve road safety

Postby admin » Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:17 am

KUALA LUMPUR: The blitz by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) against Puspakom is fully supported by the Road Safety Department (JKJR) as it will help improve road safety.

Director-general Datuk Suret Singh said the responsibility to ensure the safety of vehicles - especially commercial vehicles - fell squarely on the Government.

"As such no stone will be left unturned and we are aware that the minister is serious about the issue," he said at a press conference Friday.

He was commenting on action taken by the ACA against Puspakom with the arrest of 55 people who were allegedly involved in taking bribes to "pass" vehicles which arrived for inspection.

Suret Singh said vehicles that were not checked properly would most likely be recalled for inspection and that it would be left to Puspakom to go through the records.

"On the other hand, we also believe in self-regulation and we think that no bus company would want its buses involved in accidents.

"The problem can only get better because of what the ACA has done," he added.

When it was pointed out that corruption could only happen if two hands clap, Suret Singh said there would be no hesitation in taking action if evidence was found that collusion has taken place.

"We will call them (the operators) up, but it will not be a witch hunt. Let's be fair about the whole situation and not jump to conclusions."

On a related matter, Suret Singh said the JKJR, Road Transport Department (JPJ), police and Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) have stepped up their operations in preparation for the Hari Raya festival.

"The JPJ will conduct physical examinations on buses before they leave the terminal while the police will conduct random drug tests on the drivers."

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Puspakom to fire 23 employees

Postby admin » Wed Sep 10, 2008 2:20 am

KUALA LUMPUR: Twenty-three Puspakom employees will be dismissed after the company found them guilty of approving non-roadworthy vehicles and accepting bribes.

They had also been found to have abused their powers, Puspakom chief executive officer Datuk Salamat Wahit told a joint press conference with Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) director-general Datuk Ahmad Said at the Puspakom centre in Wangsa Maju here yesterday.

Some 50 Puspakom employees were recently detained after a blitz by the ACA. They are alleged to have been involved in corrupt practices including allowing vehicles to be approved without going through proper testing.

Salamat said Puspakom had recalled 11 vehicles for checks after they were suspected of being passed without proper checks. He said 21 runners were also being investigated by the ACA.

Prior to ACA’s involvement, Salamat said Puspakom had dismissed 40 employees for malpractices since 1994.

He said that for the past one year ending in July, 8,628 vehicles had failed inspection tests. Of these, 1,000 were found to be cut-and-join vehicles.

He said that every month, Puspakom would find about 80 vehicles having the front and back portions from different cars being welded together.

The cut-and-join cars were blacklisted and the Road Transport Depart–ment notified not to register them.

Most of the other 8,000 cars failed the tests because of bad braking systems, poor suspensions, tampered chas­sis, engines and glass, Salamat said.

On the recent blitz by the ACA, he said Puspakom had invited the ACA and worked closely with it.

“Puspakom is concerned with the lives of the public who use non-roadworthy vehicles and for this reason we are serious in getting rid of corrupt officials,” he said.

Ahmad said Puspakom had worked together with ACA officials about a year ago.

“We are happy to work with any organisation which wants to wipe out corruption and any form of malpractice.

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