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Jun 8, 2017

Why Was Alleged Bribery Attempt Not Investigated?

Carlos Perdomo

As we told you on Wednesday, Paul Ku got a Belizean passport with the approval of then-Immigration Director Ruth Meighan and then-Minister Carlos Perdomo, despite issues with his application flagged by retired Immigration Officer, Therese Chavarria. Ku was sponsored by naturalized Belizean, Rina Chiu Hsiang Lo, who has been described in the Senate hearings as a sort of immigration fixer. Chiu Hsiang Lo was also fingered for offering a bribe to Chavarria while she was on vacation. But the matter seemed to be left aside. When he appeared before the Senate panel on Wednesday, Perdomo could not explain why as Minister of National Security, he did not intervene and order a police investigation, despite additional investigation within the Department.  He insisted, however, that it was not because of trying to protect his friendship with ‘Miss Rina.’


Carlos Perdomo, Former Minister of Immigration and National Security 

“When the director briefed me on the issue, we decided that the department would do some additional investigation, because we were kinda surprised that the officer who claims the bribe had gone on vacation and when she came back and find out that the passport is already signed then she said something; she didn’t say anything before. So Ms. Meighan decided to check within the Department; and I think she has corroborated that in her sharing and in this report. Perhaps I didn’t pursue it, but the department did investigate. It didn’t go to the police, I don’t know why.”


Mark Lizarraga, Senator, Business Community

“Wouldn’t this have been something that would have bothered you minister? Or were you…”


Carlos Perdomo 

“I wouldn’t have rushed to the police with the knowledge that I had then, so the decision was to investigate more before going to the police; because it was kind of a little incredible story, that you have all this information. So we left it to the Department to pursue further.”


Mark Lizarraga

“But why minister? Why wouldn’t you seek to.”


Carlos Perdomo 

“Must be busyness or something but it was not intentional.”


Mark Lizarraga

“It was not because you were dealing with friends of friends?”


Carlos Perdomo 

“No, never. If I defended every friend I know, I would be in jail for life.”


Perdomo said he would be willing to talk to police as recommended by Audit about the case, and opined that Rina Chiu Hsiang Lo had her own contacts with the Department, though he, Perdomo, was not one of them.

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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