Following an investigation by the Road Transport Department, the owners of the testing centres were found guilty of issuing certificates of roadworthiness to cars that had never been inspected.
The owners of the testing centres had been giving their stamp of approval to vehicles that did not meet road-safety standards in order to cut corners, saving them time and money.
The Road Transport Department has so far shut down four centres for illegally issuing certificates and is on the look out for more around the island.
Two of the testing centres were based in Nicosia while one was closed down in Paphos and another in Larnaca.
“Unscrupulous crooks” were the words used by the Head of The Road Transport Department Sotiris Kolletas to describe those who profited from the scam.
“Individuals involved in this type of fraud are endangering the public by toying with road safety standards,” said Kolletas.
He added that the MOT centres that were shut down were all lucrative businesses taking in an annual income of over €156,000 from car inspections alone.
“The offenders had been prolific in their issuing of fake certificates and had been operating illegally for some time,” said Kolletas.
The offenders were caught in the act of falsifying certificates when the Road Transport Department carried out surprise inspections on the premises and uncovered the crime.
Battling MOT testing fraudsters is just one of the tasks being undertaken by authorities at the moment.
The other has been an effort to increase public compliance towards MOT law.
Recent reports have shown that over 30,000 motorists in Cyprus are driving without a valid MOT certificate which in turn invalidates their road tax and insurance policy.
By Paul Malaos, Cyprus Mail, October 8, 2008