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Feb 8, 2017

Edgar Cano Disclaims Knowledge of Missing Visa Foils…

The first witness to be called today was Edgar Cano, the former head of the Services Section of the Immigration Department and briefly posted to the Western Border.  Cano, accompanied by attorney Richard “Dickie” Bradley, has been a public officer for thirty-two years and with the Department for twenty-eight years. But one incident appears to haunt him – the issuance of eight visas without the corresponding stickers for the passport. These visa foils had gone missing from the Western Border office and wound up in the hands of former Deputy Mayor of the Belize City Council Eric Chang, and the Council’s Financial Controller, Patrick Tillett, who got them verified as legitimate. Subsequently, it was alleged, Cano gave the order to issue the visas corresponding with the requisite numbers despite the corresponding stickers being missing. It was said to be needed for recovery of revenue and other matters. But today, Cano specifically denied authorizing any officer under him to issue those visas, saying that he could not have done so because he was out of office on vacation during the period between late December 2013 and January, 2014. Here was his explanation.

 

Edgar Cano

Edgar Cano, Former Head of Services, Immigration Department

“Sir, I gave no approval to Vernon Leslie; I gave nothing in writing to him; I was on vacation leave. And that is his statement and his whatever, declaration; but I gave none to Vernon Leslie. I was out of the office.”

 

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“Did the Auditor General seek your response to the allegation made against you at any time by Vernon Leslie?”

 

Edgar Cano

“None at all, sir. None at all.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“You had conversations with the Auditor General?”

 

Edgar Cano

“None at all.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“They didn’t meet with you through the Audit process?”

 

Edgar Cano

“None at all; they met with me on different matters related to this audit, but not to that effect.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“I just want to clarify that, so the Auditor General met with you in the course…”

 

Edgar Cano

“The staff; the staff, the representative who was conducting the audit met with me in Belmopan, when I handed over records from 2011 to the period that they were requesting. That’s the only encounter I had with the staff of the Audit Department.”

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