60 traffic police officers detained in bribery scheme for abuse of safety regulations on roads
Çetin Aydın - ISTANBULSome 102 people, including 60 traffic police officers and two constables, were detained in Istanbul in an operation early on July 24 for turning a blind eye to earth-moving trucks carrying weight beyond their capacity and for letting concrete mixers on the roads during banned hours in return for briberies amounting to 5,000 Turkish Liras (around $1,400) a month.
The traffic polices involved in the corruption were determined after an eight-month-long analysis. Following a health check-up, the detainees were brought to the organized crime control bureau for their testimonies.
An additional 72 people, including 28 police officers, are being sought by officials for being involved in the “bribery wheel.”
Authorities indicated that the investigation can be extended to inspect construction companies’ executives in line with the testimonies of construction companies’ employees caught in the act.
The investigation was launched about eight months ago after the organized crime control bureau received a tip that some traffic police officers were involved in the corruption circle. A specially assigned team installed cameras in the areas the allegations said the corruption was going on. The police officers and construction company employees believed to have been involved in the incident were closely monitored, including their phone lines. The officials then determined that it was not just traffic police officers receiving bribes but also some municipality officers.
The specially assigned team discovered that the involved police officers were “put on the payroll” by some of the construction companies at an amount of 5,000 liras per month. The companies were also determined to be providing money to the truck drivers for the “instant bribes” amounting to 200 to 300 liras to be given to the police.
The recorded images showing bribing actions and phone conversations have been put in the investigation file.
Meanwhile, Istanbul provincial gendarmerie command teams were reported to have increased its traffic controls recently. It inspected many vehicles, especially earth-moving trucks on the Hasdal-Kemerburgaz highway.
In the inspections, the gendarmerie teams utilized “automatic license plate recognition system” with the help of drones. They determined earth-moving trucks that failed to abide by the rules. Three such trucks were banned from traffic after they were determined to be carrying load that could pour onto the road anytime, causing danger for the road. Also, a total of a fine of 197 liras was imposed on their drivers.