ATTORNEY General Faris Al-Rawi has said there is a significant amount of fraud in the public service.
He was responding to an urgent question in the Senate on Tuesday from Opposition Senator Wade Mark, who asked, in light of reports that members of the public were being asked to pay extra money as bribes to get birth, death and marriage certificates at the Registrar General's department, what measures were being taken to eliminate this practice.
"I can say emphatically that employees of the Registrar General's division do not accept monies or services outside their normal purport," Al-Rawi said.
He said the division served approximately 150 applications per day and 200 people. He reported that when the online payment system is implemented on March 2, it will eliminate 15,000 applications every three days from the departments in Arima, San Fernando and Port of Spain.
Mark asked why members of the public, seen live on the media, were complaining about these "unfortunate practices." Al-Rawi said the last administration left a broken, splintered, unattended system and he immediately had to provide a solution via electronic payments.
"That solution will be, in a matter of days, applied so that unscrupulous practices of bribery, etcetera can stop – practices which my friend is well aware of in another place."
Opposition Senator Khadijah Ameen asked if there was any investigation to confirm no employees of the division were involved.
Al-Rawi replied that there are monitoring systems, cameras and "people on the outside." He also reported over the last year people had been taken to court in relation to unscrupulous practices.
"We have discovered a significant amount of fraud in the public service in TT at the Ministry of Works and Transport Licensing Division, Planning Division etcetera."
He said by next week he would be able to report on about 200 people dealt with before the courts "in a very aggressive fashion".
"Never before done in this country. We are very pleased to be able to report a solution with certainty."