Vehicle inspection centres face bribery investigation

Three official vehicle inspection centres in the west of Sweden are suspected of accepting bribes in the form of alcohol and cash. The district prosecutor has begun proceedings against three men while Svensk Bilprovningen, the Swedish Vehicle Inspection Company, said it would launch an internal investigation.

Magnus Ehrenstråle, the managing director of Svensk Bilprovningen told Swedish Radio that the revelation was “dreadful”.

“Bilprovningen’s good reputation and trustworthiness has been jeopardised,” he said.

The allegations have so far focused on the vehicle testing centre in Kungsbacka, Västra Götaland. According to Dagens Nyheter, three employees allowed “imported luxury cars” to jump the queue in exchange for cash and spirits.

“On several cars the milometers had been altered,” reported DN.

All of which sounds fairly innocuous, but the fear is that this is part of a wider car smuggling racket. According to the prosecutor one of the three men in custody was paid by a Gothenburg “car smuggling league” to inspect only their cars.

The league allegedly paid 80,000 kronor to inspectors between 1999 and 2003 with bribes hidden under the carpet on the car floor.

Magnus Ehrenstråle would not say how many more vehicle inspection centres are under suspicion but he confirmed that the organisation would step up its internal controls. Nevertheless, he said he did not want to question employees’ “personal integrity by installing cameras and the like”.

“We have incredibly good quality control in our processes,” he told SR.

“What’s happened here is basically the sale of alcohol from a customer to an employee. It happened in a place away from the centre. It’s hard for us to have control over that.”

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, SR, Svensk Bilprovningen