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Jun 27, 2014

Auditor General Report says Immigration Director obstructed investigation

On Thursday night, we took at brief look at the twenty-seven page interim Auditor-General’s report. The document chronicles an attempt at an intensive investigation into the corruption at the Immigration Department. We say attempt because the team states that they had trouble accessing records and were given the run-around by Director of Immigration Maria Marin. They accuse her of intentionally evading their requests for pertinent materials. The report was handed over to the Ministry of Immigration and Office of the Prime Minister in March, with the note that documents and files critical to the investigation were still not handed over though specific requests had been made. Tonight, we take a closer look at an interview done with Gordon Wade, who is the officer in charge of the nationality section. Mike Rudon has that story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

Interviews done with nationality section head Gordon Wade and his assistant Ady Pacheco shed some light on the scope of ministerial involvement in procuring of nationality for individuals. On Page twenty-four, Wade is asked why he accepted the Won Hong Kim application without supporting documents. He offers the shocking revelation that, “This is a practice of all Ministers to bring in applications for individuals.” Wade said Penner promised to bring in the supporting documents, stating that, “All Ministers would do this and return with the documentation most of the time.”


Wade continues to state that, “Minister Penner never brought in the documents. Instead, he came in a day or two after and requested the file from him…the Minister informed him that he wanted the file as he would take it to the Director, Ms. Maria Marin, for her to deal with it.” Wade states that he never saw the Won Hong Kim application file again, but he knows that it was processed. Wade also states that he knows that the director has the official register which records acceptance of nationality applications.


On Page twenty-five, Wade again makes reference to ministers facilitating nationality applications. He states that, “it was not out of the norm for any minister to bring in incomplete applications and these would go through on the strength of their promise to bring in the missing documents.” The report confirms that, “This was to the knowledge of the Director, Ms. Maria Marin. He informed us that Ministers are still bringing in applications for individuals even after what has happened in September 2013.”


On page twenty-six, Wade’s assistant Pacheco confirms that it was the practice of ministers, their secretaries and drivers to bring in application forms for individuals. As to the missing nationality files, including that of Won Hong Kim, Pacheco states that, “Minister Penner visited the Department on another day in September 2013 and requested the file pertaining to Won Hong Kim.”  She states that she gave it to him and he never returned it.


Pacheco stated that it was not out of the ordinary for Penner to request files as Minister Godwin Hulse has also done this. Pacheco confirms that there is no record of Won Hong Kim signing the oath of allegiance and attending any swearing in ceremony. She told the audit team that she facilitated Penner in his request because she was intimidated by him.


We note that it has been more than nine months since the scandal broke and almost four months since this report was handed in to Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Minister Hulse. No public prosecution has been initiated, and it seems unlikely to expect one at this point. Mike Rudon for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Auditor General Report says Immigration Director obstructed investigation”

  1. Ali BaBarrow, sez it all says:

    millstones for the whole cabinet.

    damn them to hell!

    Where are the outcries of the religious leaders?
    There are none, they are in bed with the criminals as paid prostitutes.

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