Names of Eric Chang and Patrick Tillett Resonate with Missing Visa Stickers

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Updated: March 1, 2017

Immigration Officer Mark Tench appeared before the Senate Special Select Committee to defend himself against the allegations made against him in the Auditor General Special report. Tench has been a public officer for about 18 years and he is currently a supervisor stationed at the Immigration Office in Orange Walk Town. However, during the audit period of 2011 and 2013, Tench was stationed at the Western Border as an immigration officer. It was on December 2012 that Tench discovered that eight visa foils were missing from the Western border station. According to an internal report from Senior Immigration Officer, Vernon Leslie, the eight missing visa stickers were removed by one L. Wade from Immigration officer M. Tench. Today, Tench gave his version of the events.

MARK TENCH

“On the 26th of December which was Boxing Day I was the supervisor on the 6am shift and I came to work with two other officers Requena and Crawford and upon entering the door at 6am we shifted over from the night person, there is one night person who works there and there was a gentleman wanting to buy a visa and I went to the cabinet, took out the visa foils that were in there with the visa book and upon checking the last number in the visa book it was not corresponding with the numbers in the foil and so I looked through the things, thought that it was placed randomly the visa are on a sheet, four to a sheet and there was about, we get normally 100 and they come in a bunch of twenties in a folder and I thought maybe they were just placed in there wrong and I searched the remaining sheets and could not find them. I called the two officers who were working with me, Ms.Crawford and Requena and I showed them. We looked over it again and then I came to the realization that those visas were missing and I picked up the phone and I called Mr. Cano as the OIC and I explained to him the situation. Mr. Cano didn’t tell me anything I just made my report when I was done he told me thank you and he hung up the phone.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“When you came in the morning early you discovered those visas missing so there would have been some process by which visas were reconciled the evening before to see the issue?”

MARK TENCH

“Well the office who would be on the shift prior to my shift that person would be the one who would write in the book that these visas are accounted for, left it would say from visa number five to visa number ten are in this book and when I come in the morning I would look at the book and I would then say okay visa number five to ten is there. When I came in that morning those visas were not there.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“But was there a reconciliation for the previous shift as to what visas were issued in that shift prior to yours.”

MARK TENCH

“They would just have it through the receipt book but what I’m saying is that the person the supervisor on the shift that came off at 10am that person would just write that these are what were left receipt number five to ten, visa number five to ten, border permits from number five to ten.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“I want to understand something, so you work up to 10pm after that visas can’t be issued only one person is there at night.”

MARK TENCH

“Junior staff but they are just there, all of those visas are locked up in an office.”

In her report, the Auditor General the eight missing visa foils was given to one Mr. Middleton. The reports say that Mr. Middleton took the eight visas for sale to Chang and Tillett. According to Tench, he met up with Chang and Tillett at a restaurant in Belize City.

MARK TENCH

“At that time Mr. Cano was already off of his holiday, he was at work at that time. I went and spoke to Mr. Cano spoke to him about the information that I had and he sanctioned and operation for us to go to interview Mr. Tillett. It was three of us that he sent myself, Ms.Morales and Jones.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“Which Jones?”

MARK TENCH

“Andrea Jones. I called back Mr.Tillet and I told him that we were coming to Belize that same day immediately and he said that he was willing to speak with us and that he was going to bring somebody with him that is what he told us and I said no problem and I asked him where he wanted to meet and he said that we should meet at the Calypso Restaurant and that is where we met. We left our border and it took us about two hours to reach Belize City and when we walked into the restaurant we met Mr.Tillet and with him was Mr.Chang whow as the deputy mayor at the time of Belize City.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“Did anybody explain the purpose of Mr.Change being there?”

MARK TENCH

“Well Mr.Chang informed us that he was the one who was getting the visas for some people and that they had bought it through a person and then they had realized that the visa were not valid and that is why they had taken it to the Belmopan office to get.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“Did he identify who he got it from?”

MARK TENCH

“They couldn’t tell us the person that they bought it from they only had a nickname for the person.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“What was the nickname?”

MARK TENCH

“I can’t remember but what they did know was that he was, one of the times they had tried to get back their, what they wanted was that they wanted to get back their money that is why they chose to meet with us, they wanted to see if we could help them get back their money that they had lost through that deal they had made.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“Do you know the amount of money?”

MARK TENCH

“According to them it was $5000 per visa.”

Senior Immigration Officer, Vernon Leslie also appeared today before the committee and we’ll have parts of his testimony in tomorrow’s newscast.