The Sunday Leader

Rampant Corruption At RMV

By Nirmala Kannangara

Startling revelations have now come to the fore how the Registrar of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is registering brand new vehicles brought to the country illegally under old registration numbers that cannot be traced depriving the government of revenue amounting to millions of rupees without paying customs duty.

The Auditor General’s Department with many of its audit investigations has revealed how brand new luxury Jeeps either imported or assembled here illegally have been registered under old motorcycle registration numbers which has raised the eyebrows of many.

Although the RMV officials claim that they have not done any fraud when they register vehicles, reliable inside sources confirmed that these higher officials are directly involved in these rackets to make quick money.

RMV, which is considered one of the oldest state departments in the country, has come under severe criticism for its top officials’ scandalous practices. According to initial audit investigations carried out by the Auditor General’s Department over the past few years, the motorcycles registered under the letters G, H and J have been altered and brand new luxury Jeeps have been registered in the relevant documents instead.

It is further learnt that imported vehicles bought to Sri Lanka or assembled here illegally are being registered with the RMV fraudulently with the knowledge of the RMV officials.

“The vehicles that are imported without paying customs duty and those that are assembled here are being registered illegally at the RMV almost every day. This is a racket. Although the Auditor General Department has requested the Commissioner RMV to take immediate action to prevent illegal registrations and to take immediate action against the fraudulent officers and the vehicle owners, nothing has happened so far,” sources inside RMV said on condition of anonymity.

In an audit query, (Ref: No: FB/ N/ DMT/ DE/ 2012/ 25) dated February 28, 2013 addressed to Commissioner General RMV, states that although steps could have been taken to prevent these scams, the Commissioner General has not taken enough measures to prevent illegal registrations.

“Despite strict regulations, people still import vehicles without paying customs. They also import vehicle spare parts in the same manner and assemble them illegally. All these vehicles are being registered at the RMV because the higher officials too are involved in this racket to obtain an additional income. Although the Auditor General’s Department has cautioned the RMV to stop these illegal registrations, it is surprising why the Commissioner General is dragging his feet,” sources alleged.

According to the audit investigation, the registration numbers GQ**** and GJ**** were initially registered as motor cycles with the chassis number IYU-1928311 of 50cc Yamaha motorcycle and chassis number C50-0757420 of 50cc Honda motorcycle. They have been now changed to chassis number V46-4210844 of 2835cc Mitsubishi Pajero and chassis number KZ195-0099898 of 2990cc Toyota Prado respectively.

“In addition, the RMV has tactfully changed computer data of less value vehicles registered under numbers starting with G, H and J and has included data of illegally imported luxury vehicles and have registered them. Data of small cars such as Maruti and other less value vehicles have been changed, so they can be registered. Vehicle registration number GT**** was earlier registered as 1988 manufactured vehicle but the manufacture date has been later changed to 1998. Vehicle model that was CJ640 earlier now is KZ195. The chassis number CJ640DP 4WDOL-24805 has been changed to KZJ95- 0068877 and the vehicle make was Mahindra, but now it was changed to Toyota. These are few examples the government auditors highlighted but it is disheartening to say that no action is taken yet to overcome these frauds,” he claimed.

The Sunday Leader is in its possession the initial audit investigation report which shows that 29 illegally imported luxury Jeeps have been registered by the RMV.

“This is how some RMV officials make money. The racketeers are not ordinary citizens but those who hold high posts in the country. They import these luxury jeeps using their portfolios and political connections. These 29 vehicles consist of three Mitsubishi Montero Jeeps, seven Mitsubishi Pajero Jeeps, one Toyota Prado Jeep, nine Toyota Jeeps, one Mercedes Benz, three Toyota cars, two Nissan dual purpose vehicles, one Isuzu Jeep, one Honda car and one dual purpose Toyota vehicle. After inspecting the chassis numbers of these 29 vehicles, the Customs Department has confirmed that that they were illegally imported vehicles. It has come to the light the revenue licenses and luxury vehicle taxes have been obtained for these vehicles for over seven years since the date of registration,” he said.

He further said how the RMV has registered some more vehicles under registration number starting 302 series. “It was in the year 2000 the RMV started registering vehicles with English numbers. Earlier all petrol vehicles were registered under 302 series. The RMV introduced the English number without completing 302 series and under the remaining 302 series numbers, most of illegally imported vehicles have been registered,” sources alleged.

According to the sources, diesel cars that were registered under 99 series and dual purpose vehicles registered under 254 series too have been filled with these illegally imported vehicles.

“This is a serious issue where some RMV officials are engaged in money making frauds. This has prevented the country from having millions of rupees. The RMV is once again accused of registering brand new luxury jeeps imported to the country illegally as jeeps obtained from army auctions. The vehicles bought from tri-force auctions are registered under 325 series and by forging documents, the RMV has registered brand new luxury jeeps as vehicles bought from auction.

“Under clause 18 of the Motor Traffic Act, the RMV has failed to carry out its duties as a government department which has deteriorated the state of affairs at the Department of Motor Traffic. Although allegations have been levelled against the RMV for its continuous corruption done by the higher officials, and detailed report of the Auditor General’s Department has shown how these scams have taken place, it is up to the Commissioner General RMV to take immediate action to prevent these illegal activities from taking place in his department. If he fails to do so, it is up to the relevant ministry to take action,” he said. All attempts to contact the Audit Superintendent M.S. Nayana Kumara who conducted the RMV audits, failed.

 

‘Irregularities Have Taken Place’

Commissioner General RMV, S. H. Harischandra accepted the fact that such irregularities had taken place and said that his officers were investigating as to how it had happened.

“This could have happened due to some system failures as we are yet to find out how this has happened. Although the Auditor General’s investigation has stated that RMV has registered number of illegal vehicles, we found out only about seven such details,” Harischandra said.

When asked as to what action, he as the Commissioner General of RMV has taken against the officers involved in this racket and the vehicle owners, Harischandra said that taking action against government officials are not that easy as the proper procedure has to be followed when giving a charge sheet.

“We have to follow the procedure and take action. Amongst these officers some may have now gone on retirement. In such instances we still give them charge sheets and take action. In regard to the fraudulent vehicle owners, we have cancelled their licenses. We have already cancelled licences of around six vehicles,” he added.

Acting Auditor General Chula Wickremasinghe was not available for comment.

3 Comments for “Rampant Corruption At RMV”

  1. ed

    This commissioner general has BECOME a BABA ? How can this guy tell the public he knows the subject matter and STILL investigations are ON? DON”T TALK GET A COURT ORDER AND DRAG THE RELEVANT OWNERS TO COURT WITH THE VEHICLES and leave the vehicles in the court compound UNTIL the fraudulent charges are enforced and the proper taxes are implied.

  2. kingsley

    This Baba must resign, this is an insult for people, if government keeps this kind of “Fruaders” incharge of important possition, then I surely vote for any other person as I am sure other people will do to.
    Precident should take an action on this b’tards and give the public a good impression, It is time to act now.

  3. sukirichuti

    This Commissioner is trying to cover up the fraudulent activities of his Department. Looks as if he is also in the game. Despite the AG’s Department highlighting the corruption, the silence of the higher authorities, specially the Minister concerned is an indication that he also condones these fraudulent acts. Now it is the responsibility of His Excellency the President to intervene expose the offenders in the Department before the Presidential Election and show the people that he does not condone these activities.

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