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Jan 4, 2017

Is Ex-C.E.O. to Blame for Immigration’s Black Eye?

According to Marin, she was swamped with research on the Won Hong Kim matter and concurrent investigations of the Department internally and by Police. She asked her subordinates to check with either the Ministry, in some cases, or the C.E.O. to help the auditors get what they wanted to review. But the Audit Report recalls instances where auditors went, unsuccessfully, to some junior officers to get what they needed – and still couldn’t get it. Questioned by People’s United Party Senator Eamon Courtenay, Marin said she tried to address the issue with Saldivar-Morter and that because she was obligated to provide the records she interfaced with the C.E.O. to get the ball rolling, but again, Saldivar-Morter did not come through.

 

Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator

“You said on a number of occasions here that you received from your staff concerns, complaints, comments, that requests are being made, but they’re asking the wrong persons; and I’m asking you, just to be clear, your response to that was to tell the C.E.O. that there is this issue that is arising, and you did not feel obliged to go to the Audit team that was in your department and say, ‘Listen, I told you all to go to the senior officers, you’re asking junior officers, so that that problem could be resolved.” You didn’t do that?”

 

Maria Marin, Former Director of Immigration

“No. The complaint that was indicated to me came from the C.E.O., and when I brought it to the O.I.C.’s, they indicated to me that as far as they know they were going to junior officers in some cases. And so, I told the C.E.O. what was happening and I requested that it be put in writing, so that we had a day or two in which to prepare it.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Just to understand again: important documents were requested by the Audit team, and according to you, they were not in the possession of the Department of Immigration; they were perhaps at the Ministry – is that correct?”

 

Maria Marin

“Yes, some of them; yes.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Those documents, ledgers, whatever they were; ought properly to have been in the Department of Immigration?”

 

Maria Marin

“It was for the Department of Immigration, but the Ministry was using it, because they were doing their investigation as well.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Fine. My concern is this: Here are documents that are critical to this Audit, which you welcome, that are the Ministry, which you ought to have; the Audit team is asking for it, and your response to it is simply “I don’t have it – the Ministry has it.” You felt no obligation to get it and make it available to the Audit team?”

 

Maria Marin

“It’s not that I didn’t feel any obligation…”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Did you feel an obligation to do so?”

 

Maria Marin

“I was concerned, yes; I was concerned that we did not have it, and so because it was not with us, we referred them to the Ministry. A lot was going on in the Ministry at the time; a whole lot was going on.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“I understand all of that. The question I am asking you specifically, is whether you felt obligated to get these documents that belonged in your Department, that were with the Ministry and make it available to the Audit team.”

 

Maria Marin

“I believe it was my obligation, yes, and I did indicate to the C.E.O. that they wanted documents that were not in my possession.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“Right. So let’s go one step further. You indicated to the C.E.O. what was required, what was requested, and that the Ministry had it. Did you take any steps to ensure that the C.E.O. ensured that the Audit team got the documents?”

 

Maria Marin

“No, I left it at that; I thought the C.E.O. would have addressed it.”

 

Eamon Courtenay

“And that is why, if I understand the documents that you are providing to us, that the criticism was being made of you, when in fact what you had you handed over, but what you didn’t have you directed your officers or the C.E.O. to tell the Audit team where they can find these documents?”

 

Maria Marin

“I directed my officers and I advised the C.E.O.”

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