An investigation has been launched after a video emerged which allegedly shows a man agreeing to pay off a Leeds City Council worker to get a taxi driver’s licence back.
According to Leeds Live, in the video the man - who works for a taxi firm in Leeds - agrees to help a suspended driver get his private hire licence back during a phone call.
But he goes on to say the driver will need to bring money because ‘whoever I’ve got inside needs paying’.
The man makes the shocking statement after the taxi driver on the other end of the phone asks him to help a fellow driver, who has allegedly been suspended be-cause he ‘slapped his wife’ and ‘she complained’.
The man can then be heard saying ‘Don’t spread it around though will you?’
After watching the video on YouTube, Leeds Private Hire Drivers’ Organisation (LPHDO) con-tacted Leeds City Council and asked for an independent investigation, which it has now launched.
Members allege that the man was intending to use a £500 payment to bribe a member of the council, which is the only body that has the power to suspend, revoke or refuse to renew a taxi driver’s licence if they have been convicted of a violent, dishonest or indecent offence.
Zahid Mahmood is vice-chair of the LPHDO and a working taxi driver.
He said: “We put it to the council, ‘What the hell is going on here?’ and asked for an independent investigation.
“For years we’ve been saying something is wrong.
“What we did is emailed all the councillors to ask for an independent investigation.
“They replied and said they have taken on an investigation and they can’t give out any information until the investigation is completed.”
“We’re just waiting to see what the council comes up with now.
“It makes my very, very, very angry, because the thing is, for decades Leeds City Council has been coming down very hard on taxi drivers over small issues.”
Leeds City Council says it has seen the video and launched an investigation.
A council spokes-woman said: “We are aware of this information and we have arranged for an immediate independent investigation to be carried out.
“It would therefore be inappropriate for us to comment further until the investigation has been concluded.”
Council policy states that it can suspend a taxi driver’s licence with immediate effect if it is ‘in the interests of public safety’, but the driver has the right to appeal.