PASS YOUR DRIVING TEST FIRST TIME WITH THE RASHID SCHOOL OF MOTORING

A driving instructor conspired with a test examiner to take £1,000 bribes to pass failed candidates.

Crooked instructor Salima Rashid, 49, took bungs from learners including an ‘atrocious’ driver who had failed four times.

Grandmother of eight Rashid split the backhanders with examiner Kulwinder Mann, 47, at Barking test centre in Essex who passed some candidates without them even taking to the road.

A second examiner at the centre, Nick Madigan, 38, also took the bribes and granted licences to learners who could have caused serious accidents.

Rashid denied any knowledge of the scam but was convicted by jurors following a three-week trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Madigan had already admitted his role before the trial while Mann, who suffers mental health problems, faces detention and treatment at a psychiatric institution.

Two other instructors, Sofia Rasool, 40, and Jasvinder Rai, 36, had also been accused of taking £1,000 bribes but were last month cleared on the judge’s direction due to a lack of evidence.

Judge Simon Wilkinson, jailing Rashid for two years, said: ‘This was a very serious offence on a number of levels.

‘As an officially approved driving instructor, the public expected you to maintain the highest standards in relation to that position.

‘Instead you betrayed them.

‘You entered a corrupt agreement with a driving test examiner.

‘Under that agreement, you guaranteed a pass to any pupil, provided the pupil in question paid £1,000 or thereabouts prior to the test taking place.

‘The pupils whom you approached tended to be over anxious, desperate or a combination of both.

‘Almost by definition, these were people who were the least fit to hold a full driving licence.

‘You not only corrupted the integrity of the test system, you also put members of the public at risk.’

The judge ordered the seizure of £2,000 cash which had been on Rashid when she was arrested.

Both Mann and Madigan are due to be sentenced next month.

Learner Gurpal Bhogal had told the court how he was failed by Madigan on January 26, 2008, but offered a licence in exchange for cash minutes later.

An investigation was launched by the Driving Standards Agency and police spoke to scores of Barking test centre candidates.

DSA investigator Patricia Lavery found candidates had regularly handed over £1,000 in return for test passes.

‘The money, a bribe say the Crown, was usually about £1,000, but if you were a bit hard up you could get a discount,’ said prosecutor Katherine Lumsdon.

Failed learners who handed over cash for licences included police community support officer Esrar Ali and his sister Nadia, the court heard.

‘Nadia had been taught to drive by Salima Rashid.

‘At Salima’s suggestion, she [Nadia] paid £1,000 and passed her test.’

Nadia told her brother, a candidate ‘who had been repeatedly trying to pass his test’ and he paid Rashid £1,000, the court heard.

‘Kulwinder Mann was the examiner on both occasions,’ added Miss Lumsdon.

Student Miss Ali, wearing thick spectacles and a headscarf, told jurors she handed Rashid an envelope stuffed with £1,000 cash on the day of her test.

During her test, Miss Ali had a near miss with an oncoming car but was still passed, the court heard.

Miss Ali said after her test she spoke to her brother, who had also been struggling to pass, telling him about the scam.

‘I gave him the name of the instructor and gave him the number and said that she can help you,’ said Miss Ali.

‘If you pay her she knows the examiner who gives you a pass guarantee if you pay her £1,000.’

All the learners who agreed to testify against Rashid received a police caution for paying the bribes and are believed to have been stripped of their licences.

Rashid blamed the examiners and her ‘corrupt’ students and claimed to have had no knowledge of the pay-offs.

Her barrister Rana Sheikh blamed the conspiracy on Mann, claiming he had manipulated Rashid into taking part in the scam after the death of her father.

‘At a time when her father departed, this man came into her life – the abuser took control,’ said the barrister.

Rashid, of (49) St George’s Avenue, Grays, Essex, was convicted of conspiracy to commit bribery between January 1 2007 and June 30 last year.

Rasool, of (78) London Road, Barking, Essex, and Rai, of The Belfry, Clifford Road, Chafford Hundred, Grays, were cleared of the same charge.

Madigan, of (53) Kitkatts Road, Canvey Island, Essex, admitted conspiracy to commit bribery.

Kulwinder Mann, of (9) Chadwell Heath Lane, Chadwell Heath, Essex, was judged unfit to plead but has been found guilty of ‘doing an act’ relating to conspiracy to commit bribery, obtaining a pecuniary advantage and money laundering and will be sentenced on April 8.

He claimed he was mentally ill and was given a 12 month supervision order.

Mann was let off with a suspended sentence.

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