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Jun 7, 2017

At Senate, ex-Minister of Immigration Carlos Perdomo Washes Hands Clean of Involvement

Aldo Salazar

The Senate Special Select Committee called former Minister of Immigration and Nationality and National Security Carlos Perdomo as its sole witness today. Perdomo presided over the Ministry during the early part of the period under investigation, 2011-2013. He was questioned about various issues under his tenure, including the case of Paul Ku, who was granted a passport despite being vague in his interview about where he was born or went to school in Belize. Immigration officer Therese Chavarria testified at the end of April that despite her efforts to investigate Ku, the passport was issued at the reported behest of Minister Perdomo through Immigration Director Ruth Meighan. Ku’s sponsor, one Rina Chiu Hsiang Lo, who is Perdomo’s constituent in Caribbean Shores, is alleged to have tried to bribe Chavarria by leaving five hundred dollars on her desk. But Perdomo insisted he did not intervene in Ku’s application in any way and that despite being good friends with both Rina and Chavarria, it was the officer who he said impeded a potential investigation.

 

Aldo Salazar, Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“Did you have any intervention with Paul Ku’s application?”

 

Carlos Perdomo

Carlos Perdomo, Former Minister of Immigration and National Security

“I did not give any directive, as the report says, to the Director of Immigration. And I would like to say that when I was briefed about this situation, the whole scenario was already completed; because nobody, at least from what was briefed to me orally – I didn’t know anything about this case until Miss Chavarria came back from vacation. Apparently according to reports she knew a lot of things, she was supposedly bribed; but nobody knew of that. She went on vacation, took files at home which was pretty irregular; but nobody knew anything of that until she came back, and it is after everything is complete – passport signed, blah, blah, blah – that she made a report after vacation.  Miss Chavarria is my good friend too; I taught her in high school (laughs). Just in case (laughs). I have a lot of good friends, you know, but it doesn’t mean… and I know sometimes this conversation might lead into ‘Because dah mi good friend you help her with this and that,’ I don’t get involved in that.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“In relation to Miss Rina, you said you knew her as a person who was sort of an agent for persons seeking nationality and that sort of thing?”

 

Carlos Perdomo

“She was always trying to help other Asian people; she spoke English pretty good; I guess they searched for her.”

 

Aldo Salazar

“Do you know if she is still here in Belize?”

 

Carlos Perdomo

“I haven’t seen her for the past several years, so I don’t know.”

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