ICAC finds corrupt conduct against RTA official

By Staff Writer

NSW’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found an Roads and Traffic Authority, NSW (RTA) Registry Services manager engaged in corrupt conduct by unlawfully helping applicants to obtain driver licences.  

The ICAC’s Report on an investigation into corrupt issuing of driver licences, tabled in Parliament this week, found  the RTA employee’s corrupt actions resulted in a significant number of people who may not have understood NSW road rules or even, in some cases, known how to drive properly, being granted licences to drive on public roads. Licences were also provided in false names, allowing people to create fictitious identities.  

The ICAC found that from late 2002 to August 2006, Paul McPherson improperly provided correct answers to between 50 and 100 applicants undertaking the driver knowledge test for a learner’s permit, as part of a scheme he participated in with driving instructor Komate Jaturawong and restaurant owner Victor Phomsavanh. 

According to thr report, the ICAC further found that Mr McPherson created false emails, purporting to have been sent from Land Transport New Zealand, which falsely claimed that several other individuals held a particular class of driver licence in New Zealand. Mr McPherson passed off some of these emails to other staff within the Botany Motor Registry as genuine so as to allow the individuals to be improperly issued with a NSW licence without undertaking a driving test.  

Commissioner Jerrold Cripps said not only was Mr McPherson’s conduct corrupt, but it could also have contributed to endangering lives through people not properly qualified to drive being able to obtain a driver licence.

“While there’s no doubt that Mr McPherson abused his position, the ICAC investigation discovered system weaknesses at the RTA and the Commission has made 22 corruption prevention recommendations to the Authority to improve its systems and procedures," he said.
"The Commission also recommends that the RTA consider taking disciplinary action against Mr McPherson with a view to his dismissal.”  

The ICAC’s investigation included compulsory examinations and a public inquiry held over four days in March 2007. Commissioner Cripps presided at the inquiry and 10 persons gave evidence.

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