Taxi permit lottery removes corruption: A-G

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum picks the first taxi permit winner in Lautoka last month. Picture: DEPTINFO

ATTORNEY General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the Government’s taxi permit lottery system removed corruption and complicated processes that existed before.

Speaking to thousands of people who turned up at the Lautoka Girmit Centre on Saturday to witness the event, the AG said the lottery would ensure that low income earners would have access to permits.

“In Fiji, for a number of decades, taxi permits were given by LTA (Land Transport Authority) in a very complex and complicated manner,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“You first had to apply for a permit, then sometimes go and get a base, sometimes you get assurance of a permit but not a base, sometimes you got a base but not a permit.

“These were the sort of issues that used to take place in Fiji.

“The other issue was there was no system as to how the permits were issued or who would get a taxi permit.

“We found, for a number of years that a number of people who had 10 taxi permits continued to get more taxi permits.

“We found, for example, people who owned shopping centres got taxi permits.

“We found people who had been driving taxis for 15 or 20 years could never get a taxi permit. “Because there was no system in place, people did not know what the criteria was.

“There was no transparency and that led to corruption because it depended on who you know and how much you gave to them.”

More than 1500 people received permits last Saturday.

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