Senate Questions Entry of Wong Hong Kim Photo Into the Passport System

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Updated: March 15, 2017

Information Technology Manager for the Immigration Department, Rodolfo Bol, appeared before the Senate Select Committee to answer allegations made against him in the Auditor General’s Special Reports. Bol has been at the Immigration Department since 2004 as he began his IT career as the System Administrator. Bol is in charge of the over sight all technical and information systems including the passport system, the border management system and the network infrastructure. During the hearing, committee members zeroed in on the passport system and its processes. They were particularly interested in the Wong Hong Kim application and how it was that the photograph of a man who was in Taiwanese detention center was imputed in the system.

MARK LIZARRAGA

“In this particular case we now know that the person was not present and that in fact a photo of a photo was then entered into the system, how was this possible if Mr. Robinson should have taken the picture of the citizen Kim?”

RODOLFO BOL

“I don’t know how it would be possible but the system would require you to take a picture.”

MARK LIZARRAGA

“No no I’m asking you from a technical perspective. You said to take a picture did he just take a picture what did he do, how could he do it?”

RODOLFO BOL

“Well the system, when you open the system you only have two options Camera on and Capture and Save, that is basically all they have.”

MARK LIZARRAGA

“So how could he take a picture of this person, did he hang it in front, that is what he would have to do ? You can’t scan it in other words.”

RODOLFO BOL

“There is no option for scanning in the system, there is no copy.”

DR CARLA BARNETT

“The auditor general quotes you as saying “yes a picture can be scanned into the system.” So you didn’t say that?”

RODOLFO BOL

“I did not say that. Because if you look at the system and I can guide you through the system actually I it shows you there, when you open the passport system they don’t have access to anything, they don’t have access to word, excel there is nothing on the system.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“We just want to get this clear because I think all of us are eager to clarify this because the auditor general said that you said that you could scan an image into the system, is that absolutely impossible?”

RODOLFO BOL

“Absolutely impossible.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“There is no way that you can manipulate the system, you can plug in a wire somewhere there is no way you can do that.”

RODOLFO BOL

“Yes a scanner can connect to it and that is for the sole purpose of scanning the signature and that only becomes activated when you reach to the window of scanning a signature.”

According to Bol, Immigration Minister Godwin Hulse, former acting Director of Immigration Maria Marin and himself, carried out a test to see if it was possible for someone to be able to effectively input a picture into the system without taking a picture of the person at the department during the application process. In the case of Wong Hong Kim, the prevailing theory was that someone took a picture of the Wong Hong Kim photograph using the system’s camera. When Bol and others did the same with a generic photograph the result was a dark picture or as Bol put it, ‘not the best picture’. And while they could not prove their theory on how the picture was inputted in the system, they do know who operated the camera.

ALDO SALAZAR

“Wong Hong Kim’s passport in formation should still be on the system?”

RODOLFO BOL

“Yeah it should be there.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“His picture should still be on the system as well ?”

RODOLFO BOL

“Everything that was capture should be there.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“And we can know the date that it was capture and who was the operator on the date that it was captured.”

MARK LIZARRAGA

“We have that, this was Irwin Robinson.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“Right that is why but I want to know, I know that is the information that we have but  what I want to know is could it have been captured on a previous date or during the night or something like that because this sounds like something that you have to take time to do, you can’t just hold a picture you need to manipulate the system. I’m not asking you to guess what I want to know is is it possible that an image could have been saved into the system on a previous date for use on a passport.”

RODOLFO BOL

“It would be recorded on the database the time and date it was taken.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“So the date of that picture is the effective conclusive evidence that that was the date that that image was taken, that was what I wanted to know.”

RODOLFO BOL

“It will be in the database yes.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“I didn’t get an answer to my question I want to know in your opinion the Wong Hong Kim passport, the image on that passport how is it that that could have happened or is it your view  or do you feel that the passport was manipulated afterwards to insert ,well…. The question is this, in your opinion how is it that the picture, the image of some person who was never present in Belize, never present in the passport office ,who was in detention how could an image of him get onto a passport.”

RODOLFO BOL

“I won’t be able to answer that, just to what we did with Minister Hulse and Ms. Marin or what we tried to do that picture of a picture and we did something it’s on the system we can show you what the result of that was and beyond that.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“And it worked?”

RODOLFO BOL

“Well we didn’t go through the whole process we just did the data entry part of it and the picture is there for you all to see I mentioned this to the auditor general and I think it is here.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“So the image of Wong Hong Kim, or what appears to be the image of Wong Hong Kim you’ve said that there is now way that that image could have been taken previously by the system.”

RODOLFO BOL

“No it will show a date of when it was taken.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“And the user is there?”

RODOLFO BOL

“Yes.”

ALDO SALAZAR

“So then it is beyond question that Mr. Robinson was the operator who got the image of Wong Hong Kim in the system.”

RODOLFO BOL

“That is what is recorded his username, his account was used.”