Licence fraud link to terror plots

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 21 September 2014 | 23.08

Concerns ... fake Queensland drivers' licences may have helped would-be terrorists develop new identities. Picture: News Corp Australia. Source: News Limited

A CRIME and Corruption Commission investigation is underway into a major fraud involving Queensland drivers' licences, that may have helped would-be terrorists develop new identities.

A casual employee of Transport and Main Roads — who News Corp Australia understands had her employment terminated in December — is at the centre of the investigation which has been kept quiet by the department and the CCC.

It is alleged she issued upwards of 60 fraudulent licences in return for payment of $1000 each.

Sources within the department have revealed the employee allegedly "overrode" the Transport Integrated Customer Access (TICA) system to issue the licences.

The cards themselves were uncompromised.

A CCC spokesman confirmed an investigation was underway and it was "ongoing".

"The Department of Transport and Main Roads is fully cooperating and assisting the CCC," said the spokesman.

Staff who worked with the woman are among those who have been interviewed over the alleged fraud.

University of Queensland national security expert Professor Brian Lovell said a fake drivers licence would be considered a valuable commodity for people with criminal intent.

"If you look at the 9-11 attackers, there were 19 of them, and they had 63 drivers' licences between them," said Prof Lovell.

"A fake driver's licence gives you a false identity so you can hide your trail."

He said someone with a fake driver's licence in Australia could easily rent a three-tonne truck and pack it with explosives.

"The Queensland licensing system is very, very strong (security wise) but if you've got someone on the inside issuing licences to people who have bad agendas, that's of grave concern," Prof Lovell said.

Queensland drivers' licences underwent a major overhaul in late 2010 to increase their security and prevent fraud.

Measures ... Queensland drivers' licences underwent a major overhaul in late 2010 to increase their security and prevent fraud. Picture: News Corp Australia. Source: News Corp Australia

As well as being embedded with a computer chip, the licences feature holograms and special ink to make them almost impossible to replicate.

Information posted on the TMR website states the former laminated licence "became increasingly vulnerable to tampering and fraud and needed to be replaced with more secure technology".

Their introduction resulted in a doubling of the price for a five-year licence from $75 to $154.

TOUGH: Queensland drivers hit with licence increases

Motorists generally have to wait up to two weeks for a new licence while they are made by Victorian company Placard and returned to Queensland.

The "unsmiling" images featured on the licences have been unpopular with motorists but lauded by experts as a key to reducing crime, and even terrorism.

The CCC refused to say what the fraudulently issued licences were being used for, or if they had been recovered by the crime-fighting agency.

It is also unknown what changes, if any, have been implemented at TMR to prevent the issue of licences without proper authorisation.

A department spokesman said they were unable to comment because it was the subject of an ongoing investigation by the CCC.


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