October 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM
Fiji’s Land Transport Authority has raised concerns about the illegal transfer of taxi permits particularly those being sold at very high prices ranging from $10K to $15K as opposed to the $65.50 fee that is charged for a permit application.
Recently the LTA has received reports that permits were sold prior to the transfer approval and within a short span of time are transferred to another party.
LTA chief executive Naisa Tuinaceva has condemned the practice saying it is illegal.
To that end he has directed investigations on recent transfers.
“We will conduct investigations on permits transfer of less then 3 years with a holder,” he said in a statement.
“If we find anything that has some unwarranted practice, we will take them to task immediately. Their permits will be suspended immediately. We will make recommendations for effective penalties to be imposed and introduce procedures that will be more stringent.”
Tuinaceva has also issued a stern warning to those permit holders looking to make similar transfers in the next three years.
“All permits are the property of the Government. Permit holders are actually tempering with the mandate that is regulated. We are aware that in some cases this is used to supplement other needs so they give too many excuses for the transfer of the permits.”
In the past LTA has recorded more than 10 cases involving huge amounts of money for the sale of taxi permits.
And most of these permit holders when enquired reasoned ill-health that they cannot continue with the business.
However, Tuinaceva maintained transfers of this nature are unacceptable as “such permit holders had made their interest known at the initial stage to have a business that will provide sustainable subsistence to their needs.”
“This was also Governments way for providing to the needy however we have found that there were extra dealings that were beyond the normal process which was absolutely unacceptable with the way they have treated the whole matter.”
The LTA has also appealed for assistance from members of the public to curb the practice before it escalates.