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Dec 7, 2016

Irregular, But Not Illegal: Auditor General Revises Position on Minister’s Visa Recommendations

The second session of the Senate Special Select Committee recalled Auditor General Dorothy Bradley, who was joined by direct assistant and Supervisor of Audit Carla Faber to answer further questions in regard to the Immigration Audit Report. The six Senators on the Committee covered extensive ground in the first full session, one of two planned for this month. A particular point of contention was the Auditor General’s bald statement in the Report that, “Since the law does not provide for ministers to intervene in the visa process it was illegal for them to do so.” It caused uproar among senior parliamentarians who claimed they were only responding to the needs of their constituents. The Auditor General still casts a disapproving eye on whether the recommendations and apparent interventions with the Department were useful or proper, but is willing to shift her position slightly to say that these are now “irregular.” Here is her explanation to the Senators.

 

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“I want to be more direct. Are you suggesting – are you suggesting that the recommendation or request by the Minister operated on the officer?”

 

Dorothy Bradley, Auditor General

“It appeared to us…”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“The Minister is requesting that A or B gets a visa, and therefore, it is being approved because – is that the irregularity you are identifying?”

 

Dorothy Bradley

“Yes it appeared that.”

 

Carla Faber, Supervisor of Audit

“We spoke to the Director about it.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“And?”

 

Carla Faber

“As a matter of fact, those are some of the records we got from her.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Yes, but when you say you spoke to her about it – what did she say and who is she?”

 

Carla Faber

“The Director, or the Acting Director at the time, Miss Maria Marin.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Maria Marin? You spoke to her and what did she say about these letters?”

 

Carla Faber

“That the Ministers, they asked that the visas be approved.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“And?”

 

Carla Faber

“And they were approved. Some of the notations said as per Minister’s request.”

 

Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Special Select Committee

“Do you still hold the view that the fact that the Minister made a recommendation for a visa illegal? (Interruption) It’s very simple…”

 

Dorothy Bradley

“No, no, no. It’s not simple. No, no.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“Is it your view that if a Minister recommends the approval of a visa, that act is illegal?”

 

Dorothy Bradley

“It is irregular and requires further investigation.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“So your view is that it is not illegal?”

 

Dorothy Bradley

“So the term illegal, I would refrain from using it even though it is in the report.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“So you are correcting what you said in your report? You do not wish to persist in saying that that action is illegal?”

 

Dorothy Bradley

“Yes.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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