Valdez addresses files found in possession of attorney Arthur Saldivar

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Updated: July 19, 2017

What led Julio Valdez in uncovering serious irregular practices within the nationality department was the case of the eight missing visas. At that time, Attorney Arthur Saldivar was in possession of those visas. According to Valdez, his office had received information on October 8, 2013 that there were missing documents from the Immigration Department in Belmopan. He was then put in charged to investigate how those documents were taken out from the immigration department and place in Saldivar’s possession. According to Valdez, on October 15, Saldivar visited the CIB office in Belize City where he submitted the documents but refused to give a statement.

Julio Valdez – Retired Assistant Superintendent of Police
“I contact Mr. Romero and informed him that if his statement could be recorded from Mr.Saldivar as to how we came into possession of the documents and the handing over the documents to the police and detailed list of what he was handing over.”

Senator Mark Lizarraga
“Question. When you were given your terms were you aware of how many files had gone missing? Did anybody in the immigration department tell you that they had found out that they had x amount of files missing? Were they able to identify ?”

Julio Valdez – Retired Assistant Superintendent of Police
“No. On visiting the immigration office on receiving information that the documents were missing the then acting director and CEO could not give me any amount of files to say that those were the amount missing from the immigration department.”

Senator Mark Lizarraga
“Did they indicate to you that they had any knowledge that files were missing?”

Julio Valdez – Retired Assistant Superintendent of Police
“Mr.Saldivar refused to give a statement to Mr.Romero saying that if we are to start an investigation into Mr.Penner he would surely give a statement that was what was communicated to me by Mr.Romero. I conducted further investigation into how and why, I managed to speak to Mr.Saldivar and asked him if I could get information from him and record a statement from him concerning how he came into possession his concern was that if we are investigating Mr.Penner he would gladly supply a statement otherwise than that he would not give any statements as to the documents he had in his possession and how he came about them. I tried to coax him but he refused unless. My investigation at that time was just the missing documents and finding out how it left and how it reached Mr.Saldivar but I do know that those documents were taken out of the immigration office, taken to Mr.Saldivar’s house and he was told that there were documents at his house and it must be of interest. To date I did not discover how those documents left the immigration office.”

Commissioner of Police, Allen Whylie was briefed on the matter and in that briefing Valdez expressed he was experiencing difficulties when attempting to obtain files from the immigration department.

Allen Whylie – Commissioner of Police
“The last question I can recall asking of Mr.Valdez was whether or not his investigation had shown if Mr.Arthur Saldivar who had had some of the files had done anything criminal at that point in time and his response to me was ‘no not at that point of the investigation’ and that was the end of the briefing and my discussions and directives to him and I can recall, I don’t……

Senator Mark Lizarraga
“Can we ask a few questions before you get too far ahead of us. So in fact in this briefing you were informed that illegalities and discrepancies were taking place in the department in the issuing of nationality certificates.”

Allen Whylie – Commissioner of Police
“My recollection was that he said he had seen some additional documents, I believe it was documents that Mr.Saldivar had given to the police where other persons whose names he had not published on the radio may have been issued visa or applied for nationality or something along that line but it wasn’t from what he had done or investigated at immigration. The immigration discussion with him is that I felt he felt he was being stonewalled; he was going there ….

Senator Mark Lizarraga
“Before we got to that my point is that he did identify to you that there were illegalities taking place with the issuance of nationality.”

Allen Whylie – Commissioner of Police
“That he suspected and I indicated to him that when he concludes his investigation he is to include all those things and seek the guidance of the DPP. I also told him that part of this investigation is that he needs to perhaps make recommendations in terms of how to improve the safety, security, access and movement of files.”