Quebec auto board fires employee who allegedly took bribes to help drivers cheat

LAVAL, Que. - Quebec's automobile insurance board says it has fired an employee for allegedly accepting bribes in return for helping 90 prospective drivers cheat on their tests.

The board and provincial police alleged Wednesday that the former government employee was part of an organized network that helped people with their theory and practical driving tests in exchange for money.

A police spokesman said five people were arrested, including the employee who was fired.

The five were charged with fraud and breach of trust at the courthouse in Laval, north of Montreal.

All five accused are from Laval and the fired employee was based at an office in that city.

The auto insurance board said the 90 people who obtained their licences through the alleged bribe scheme will be contacted by the board.

They will either have the licences suspended or will have to retake the tests.

The board said it has a zero-tolerance policy in such matters and that an internal investigation was launched as soon as it was informed of the alleged fraud.

Provincial police were subsequently informed of the investigation.

"Integrity is a core value within the public service," said Transport Minister Robert Poeti. "This behaviour must be severely punished...I applaud the work done by the board, which handled the situation with rigour."

Board president Nathalie Tremblay said mechanisms are in place to detect such behaviour.

Tremblay added she has full confidence in other board employees.