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Feb 1, 2017

Gordon Wade Says He Was Overruled by ex-Minister of State Penner on Won Hong Kim File

Won Hong Kim

Won Hong Kim, the South Korean fugitive, who started the entire current Immigration saga, is hardly forgotten though his ultimate fate after a desperate bid to dodge extradition by claiming the nationality of the Jewel is not known. Kim was granted both passport and Belizean nationality through the machinations of former Minister of State for Immigration and Nationality, Elvin Penner, in September of 2011, prior to Penner being fired from office by Prime Minister Dean Barrow. But did Penner have any help from the officers who worked under him? Officer in Charge of Nationality Gordon Wade told auditors that after he noticed that the original file brought in by Penner lacked certain requirements, he requested their completion. Penner responded, he had said, by taking away the file and going over Wade’s head to Deputy Director, Maria Marin. He retold that story in today’s Senate hearing, adding that he received no financial benefit from handling the file in question.

 

Gordon Wade

Gordon Wade, Former Officer in Charge, Nationality Section

“As the final vettor in the section all files come to me. In this particular case you are talking about, the Minister came to inquire whether the file was ready or not, for which I responded to him [that] we are awaiting the additional documents you promised.”

 

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“Right, but what I am trying to get at is that you are not aware of every single file by name?”

 

Gordon Wade

“That’s right.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“So, there had to have been something that occurred that made you aware of this file?”

 

Gordon Wade

“Files are brought to my office on a weekly basis for vetting; the files are accepted at the front counter, they are sent to the registry where they are prepared and put in file form, and on a weekly basis an amount is brought into my office for vetting.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“So Minister Penner came to you and asked whether this particular file was ready?”

 

Gordon Wade

“That’s right.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“And you would have checked on it – you checked the file?”

 

Gordon Wade

“Yes.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“And you noted what?”

 

Gordon Wade

“That the file was incomplete.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“Do you recall what was incomplete?”

 

Gordon Wade

“If I am not mistaken, I think it was the complete copy of the passport and I think a police record; they had applied but hadn’t gotten the actual police record yet, something to that effect. And I haven’t seen that file for the last four or five years – I couldn’t remember specifically what was missing at that time.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“But it was incomplete?”

 

Gordon Wade

“It was incomplete.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“And you told him it cannot be processed?”

 

Gordon Wade

“I told him I could not process the file until the other documents were presented which would have made the file complete.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“And that’s when he told you he was going to take it…”

 

Gordon Wade

“He was to take it up to the next level which is the Director.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“He never came back to you with that file?”

 

Gordon Wade

“Never came back to me with that file.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“Did the Director mention the file to you at any point?”

 

Gordon Wade

“No.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“So that’s the last you heard of Won Hong Kim?”

 

Gordon Wade

“When he informed me that he would be taking [it] up to the Director, that’s the last I saw and heard of that file.”

 

Reverend Ashley Rocke, Churches Senator

“We learned that this file, there were people who apparently benefited from this file; because first of all, the file was illegal – the man was in jail; there was no way he could have been in Belize, so that there had to be some payment, some benefit that came from this file for it to be processed the way it was processed. So I am asking – you are under oath ehre today – was there any way you benefited from this file?”

 

Gordon Wade

“No, Sir.”

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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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