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Sep 6, 2016

Auditor General Eyes Facilitation of Alleged International Criminals to Obtain Passports

News Five returns tonight to a review of the Office of the Auditor General’s Special Audit Reports on Visas, Nationality and Passports which are now before the House of Representatives and may soon be the subject of an investigation by the National Assembly. In the following story, correspondent Aaron Humes takes a look at tie-ins with the Vital Statistics Unit and Immigration that allowed persons accused of international crimes to find safe haven in the Jewel.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

The Auditor General’s Special Report on Passports lists several persons alleged to be involved in criminal activity internationally as having benefited from obtaining passports and nationalities under different names. Boris Sokholov, originally Boris Bessmertnyy, applied on March second, 2012, via deed poll for a name change. It was registered at the Vital Statistics Unit but there was no information seen by the auditors as the binder was not available. The man now known as Barry Williams was the subject of an investigation by the Financial Intelligence Unit for money laundering. The F.I.U. wrote then Director of Immigration and Nationality Ruth Meighan, who had the letter filed but issued no response. Asked by the auditors on December eighth, 2014 about the letter sent on May fourteenth, 2012, and why she did not respond, Meighan could not remember it or any other letter from F.I.U. She told the auditors, “It was not a regular thing for them to send over such instructions.”

According to the report, applicants who wish to change their names are trying to evade law enforcement in their countries, or simply wish to disappear off the radar of the Department. On Page ninety of the report a list of persons alleged to be human traffickers is presented who obtained Belizean nationality by registration. There is the case of Pakistani Muhammad Zaghlool who was the subject of a Police Special Branch letter from April of 2014 which identified him as a major human smuggler of Pakistani, Indian and Nepalese nationals through Belize to Mexico and ultimately to the United States. Zaghlool’s Belizean nationality was granted in 2010 by former Minister of Immigration Carlos Perdomo in August; within a month he also had a passport. There are many cases where criminal activities may have been facilitated by their contact with a broken Immigration system. Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

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1 Response for “Auditor General Eyes Facilitation of Alleged International Criminals to Obtain Passports”

  1. carlos says:

    This is a serous situation, not only for Belize, but for the other countries like the USA , England and others who have a lot of enemies from the middle East countries. How can this thing happen to Belize. Are these people not thinking about the security of our country? Are they so selfish for money. Justice should be done and those involved jailed for a number of years so that they do not have another chance to damage the credibility of our passport.

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