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Feb 2, 2017

At Senate Inquiry, Ex-Nationality Chief Discusses Use of Economic Citizenship

The Auditor General’s Report states that despite economic citizenship being ended in 2002, “replacement nationality certificates were fraudulently backdated and fraudulent nationality was given under the guise of registration and the Belize Economic Citizenship Investment Programmes.” But how was it done? The solution, according to the man then in charge of nationality, Gordon Wade, lies with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Immigration Department, he said, treated nationals by economic citizenship the same as other registered citizens, leaving them open to being duped by would-be Belizeans waving false certificates seeking renewal of passports and so on.

 

Gordon Wade

Gordon Wade, Former Officer in Charge, Nationality Section

“The way I understood that program was that the application was submitted through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; there was a committee that met, and when approvals were done, that was forwarded to our department for the rest of the processing of the passports to nationalities.”

 

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“You see, my concern is that, let’s say I had paid under that program when it was active; let’s say I had paid under that program… No. Let’s say I didn’t pay under that program, and I am now coming and saying I had paid, and I produced to you a fake certificate, which I received; which I am saying I received under that program. How are you going to be able to verify that my certificate is authentic?”

 

Gordon Wade

“The signature on the certificate; the B.N.A. register that has…”

 

Aldo Salazar

“What is the B.N.A. register?”

 

Gordon Wade

“The big book I mentioned that dealt with registration and had all the names in there; you remember that I mentioned…”

 

Aldo Salazar

“So that would have all the people that were granted economic citizenship…”

 

Gordon Wade

“That was considered under registration, section thirteen. So everybody that acquired nationality through section eleven –ten, eleven and thirteen – were in that book.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“Now this is the pertinent question: if I came and I was applying for my passport renewal, so to speak; bearing I mind I’m doing so unlawfully, then – I have a fake certificate; somehow I make it look real, I don’t know how they did it; but I have a fake certificate, and I come and I apply for my passport, do you compare the number in the certificate with the register, with the binder you are referring to? Is any comparison made at any point?”

 

Gordon Wade

“In the absence of the certificate, where you would report it lost and you were applying for a replacement. If you brought a certificate to us that we could have recognized the competent authority signing on to it, there would have been no need for any verification at that point.”

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