–Wardens seek ‘pocket money’ from license aspirants for earliest issuance
–CTO Rai Ijaz Ahmed already facing an inquiry in illegal licensing case
LAHORE: Wardens appointed at the office of the City Traffic Officer (CTO) are causing heavy financial losses to the department by receiving heavy bribes from the visitors not only for themselves but also their seniors. In addition to it, they have also devised strategies to maintain financial records with bogus data in a bid to line their as well as superiors’ pockets, Pakistan Today learnt on Tuesday.
While corruption is being carried out right under the high-ups’ noses and the officials concerned have their lips sealed, those who dare to speak against the illegal activities are either transferred or threatened of being relieved from duty.
According to sources in the CTO office, the junior staff working at the office is preparing bogus bills with the accountant’s will while using the letterheads of different companies. They told this scribe that while some high-ups have an ignorant attitude towards the actions of the staffers, others are a part of the fraud themselves.
“Those who try to do something positive in this regard are either threatened to or are actually relieved from duty in a bid to keep the wheel of corruption turning and consequently messing up the department’s image as well as causing it a loss of millions of rupees,” they added.
Moreover, the license mafia, said the sources, was more active than ever before. They informed that different sorts of fees had been set up by the staff members to loot the applicants visiting the CTO office seeking the renewal or issuance of their driving licenses.
“When an applicant visits the office, a warden tells them that ‘his or her license has expired’ and if they want it on urgent basis [within a day or two] they would have to deposit an additional amount [kharcha] or ‘pocket money’,” they said and added that the person then pays the amount being desperate to get his or her work done.
Sources further told that the amount set for the renewal of license was Rs2,500 to Rs3,000 while that being charged for a new driver’s license was Rs10,000, which if paid, got the applicant a license without even appearing for the driving test.
“The price set for being appointed at the CTO office ranges from Rs50,000 to Rs100,000,” sources said, adding that if someone paid the amount, he or she would soon be earning way more than what they would’ve paid considering the loot and plunder that prevails at the office.
They also told that certain agents were working from outside the office and “assisting” people in getting their work done while receiving exorbitant fees from under the table. “These bribes are then distributed among the high-ups, the staffers and all other agents involved,” sources said.
“The office of CTO has become nothing less than Punjab police and people are facilitated only if they can afford to bribe the officials concerned,” sources said further and added that CTO Rai Ijaz Ahmed was already facing an inquiry in an illegal licensing case.
Repeated attempts were made to contact the Traffic DIG and CTO but to no avail. Their personal secretary, Taimoor, was also tried to be reached for a comment but he was also unavailable.