What Really Happened on Boxing Day, 2012, in the West?
And while that may be the biggest bombshell out of today’s public hearings, what exactly happened out west over that holiday period in 2012 has only been obliquely told. In Tench’s version of events to the Commission, he clarified the nature of the handover from the previous shift and what was the tell-tale sign that something was wrong.
Mark Tench, Former Supervisor of Immigration, Western Border
“On the twenty-sixth of December, which was Boxing Day, I was the supervisor on shift, six a.m. shift, and I came to work with two other officers, Requeña and Crawford. And upon entering the door – six o’clock, we shift over from the night person, there is one night person that works there – and there was a gentleman wanting to buy a visa, and I went to the cabinet, took out the visa foils that was there with the book – we have a book, a visa book. And upon checking the last number in the visa book, it was not corresponding with the numbers in the foil, and so I looked through the things. [I] thought that it was maybe placed randomly; the visa foils are on a sheet, four to a sheet. And there was about – we normally get like about a hundred and they come in bunch of twenties, in a folder, and I thought maybe they were just placed in there randomly wrong, and I searched the remaining sheets and could not find them. I called the two officers who were working with me, Crawford and Requeña, and we looked over it again, and I came to the realization that those visas were missing.”
Eamon Courtenay, P.U.P. Senator
“What I wanted to understand though, is when you go on duty, is there a handing over process?”
“I saw the discrepancies in that, and what happened is we have four supervisors on shift, but no supervisors work on the night shift; just a junior staff. So what they would do would be, at the end of the day at ten o’clock when they come off shift, they would write over the handover and put in the cabinet. So when I come in the morning at six, I would balance what they have left over through the visa book and the foil book, but nobody is there physically to give me a handover.”