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Jul 20, 2017

Mandamus Appeal On, But ComPol Says Kim was Investigated

Persuaded by the arguments of then-People’s United Party leader Francis Fonseca, Chief Justice of Belize Kenneth Benjamin ordered Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie by a writ of mandamus to criminally investigate the Won Hong Kim passport scandal and the man at its center, former Minister of State Elvin Penner. His prior refusal to investigate, the Chief Justice said, was “irrational, unreasonable and unlawful.” The Commissioner begs to differ, and the matter is being appealed. But the order was carried out, the Commissioner told the Senate Special Select Committee on Wednesday.

 

Mark Lizarraga, Pro-tem Chair, Senate Special Select Committee

“Commissioner, we want to speak somewhat about your ignoring the mandamus of the court to provide the files on the Won Hong Kim matter.”

 

Allen Whylie

Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police

“No, sir; I’ve never ignored any court order. That’s not true.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“I’d like to read something – a quote that was in the local press – and it states here quoting from Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin that the Commissioner’s lack of action in the Immigration matter was irrational, unreasonable and unlawful; are you familiar with the quote from the Chief Justice.”

 

Allen Whylie

“Yes, but we also remember that the Solicitor General gave notice that he will appeal that order; but notwithstanding, the order was obeyed and the matter was investigated; I’ve said that publicly, the matter was investigated.”

 

Mark Lizarraga

“So in your view, you did not do anything unreasonable, irrational or unlawful?”

 

Allen Whylie

“Of course not; of course not. I sat in court and listened and what was presented in court and the document used; a document that was written by the D.P.P., that document had nothing to do with the Won Hong Kim matter which was with the writ of mandamus, I believe – that had to do with the missing files. That memorandum had to do with the missing files; it had nothing to do with the Won Hong Kim issue none at all, and so that I believe was a misrepresentation to the Chief Justice. But I’m no lawyer, and I accepted what the Chief Justice said and I directed that the investigation was done and it was done. But that didn’t stop me from believing that I did nothing wrong and up to today’s date, I believe that I did nothing wrong. And as I said, I look forward to this matter that the SolGen said he’ll appeal eventually goes on appeal and we will see where we go from there. But I am satisfied that I did nothing wrong; all the public pronouncements I made at the time when I was ever interviewed by the press was that it is not that the Police would not investigate; but since there was the Auditor General doing an investigation, I didn’t feel that the resources of the Police doing a parallel investigation would be useful and that was my public countenance and I am still of that view. But I did obey the order of the Chief Justice.”

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