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Wednesday 25 April 2018

NCT 'bribe' vehicles crushed by RTE

Luke Byrne

AN investigation into allegations that National Car Test (NCT) staff accepted bribes to pass dangerous cars has stalled -- because the cars have been crushed.

RTE has disposed of the unroadworthy vehicles that appeared in a 'Prime Time Investigates' programme last month about corruption in the taxi industry.

The national broadcaster bought the cars for the purpose of carrying out the investigation.

Seven staff were suspended and three dismissed by Applus, the company that runs the NCT, after it emerged that dangerous vehicles passed when €100 was paid to certain employees.

However, it is understood that no further staff have been dismissed because there is a lack of evidence against testers suspected of corruption.

"RTE crushed the cars so that's a lot of the evidence which has been destroyed," an NCT source told the Irish Independent.

"It's very hard to prove that staff passed dangerous cars when the cars aren't available to be checked."

A spokeswoman for RTE confirmed that the cars had been crushed and were never driven on the road.

She said that the records of the cars and the faults have been kept and are available from the programme.

"We gave all of the documentation regarding the cars to the NCT," she said.

While 'Prime Time' showed dangerous cars passing at one centre in Dublin, she confirmed that testers in a number centres had accepted money to pass cars.

Gardai are also investigating the claims.

Information on allegations of fraud and the provision of NCT certificates to unroadworthy vehicles has been passed on by Applus to the gardai.

A statement from Applus said that the NCT operator was conducting a detailed "end-to-end" review of its processes and had implemented an anti-fraud improvement plan.

It added a whistleblowers' hotline had been set up where members of the public and employees could highlight any concerns in relation to NCT vehicle-testing integrity.

Irish Independent

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