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Apr 26, 2006

Trial of Gabby Affif opens in Supreme Court

Story PictureThe long-delayed trial of Gabby Affif began this morning in the courtroom of Justice Adolph Lucas. Affif is charged with five counts of possession of false official documents; six counts of uttering a false official document, and five counts of forgery of an official document, all in connection with the illegal sale of Belizean nationality. In his opening remarks, Director of Public Prosecutions Kirk Anderson told the jury of three men and six women that the allegations against Affif will be supported by the evidence and asked them to listen carefully to the testimony. Anderson’s first witness was Alan Usher, the then C.E.O. in the Ministry of Defence and Home Affairs. Usher testified that he was asked by the Prime Minister to do an administrative investigation into the alleged wrongdoings at the Immigration Department. He said he examined sixteen nationality application files and crosschecked the information they contained against the issuance of the passports. When the D.P.P. asked Usher if he found anything unusual in the files, he replied that while he cannot recall every single file, one of the most blatant was a case in which the applicant was said to have arrived in Belize five years earlier … but the person infact never even set foot in Belize.

This afternoon the Crown then called Chinese national Can Han Wu, who now resides in the Cayo District. Can told the court that he paid eleven thousand U.S. dollars to his cousin for a passport, but when he entered Belize with the document, an immigration officer took it away. The case was then adjourned until Thursday when Can will continue his testimony. Affif is being represented by attorneys Simeon Sampson, Ellis Arnold, and Michel Chebat.

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