CEO of Immigration makes appearance before Senate Hearings

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Updated: October 11, 2017

The Special Senate Select Committee met again this morning and after four consecutive sessions with Immigration Director Diana Locke, another executive from that ministry sat before the committee. CEO Edmund Zuniga made his first appearance before the committee. While the committee brought up recommendations within the Auditor General’s report and asked the CEO what he is willing and able to do in his position, the CEO was also questioned about the department’s ongoing efforts in improving transparency and efficiency.  At the start of the questioning, CEO Zuniga was asked about his view on how and when the Police Department should have responded to the Auditor General’s report.

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“Based on what you have seen CEO will you agree that the cases that the auditor general raises, that needs investigation, would you agree that they do need in fact investigation?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration Department

“Certainly. The Auditor General’s recommendations should not be taken lightly by anybody.”

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“And it is your view that these investigations should have commenced already?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration Department

“It is up to the police, the Commissioner of Police to instruct or to take on investigations without prompting from anybody. The mere fact that the copy of the report is sent to the commissioner is an indication that they should do something in my view.

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“And have you heard the statements made saying ‘well we are awaiting the report of the Senate Select Committee to see where to go.”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration Department

“Yes I’ve heard that.”

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“Do you think CEO, that you should have perhaps prompted after you read this a gentle reminder or something to that effect.”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration Department

“Well I have not given the police any reminder as to what their function is let me just put it that way.”

Over the last four weeks, Director of Immigration Dianna Locke had gone into much detail about the housekeeping matters within the department and the efforts to improve the efficiency and transparency there. While she accepted that many recommendations made by the Auditor General were within her purview to change or improve, certain matters fall within the CEO’s power. Today, the Committee asked him about his commitments to some of the recommendations in the audit report.

 

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“Is it a part of your mandate to look at these things?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration

“I have not been given any instruction along that line. I believe that a part of the CEOs function is accountability in the Ministry department that we work in so we do have that commitment to do something about whatever is happening with the reports.”

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“What is going to be your focus?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration Department

“Well indeed there are lots of little things in the report. As I mentioned earlier if we can get the migration policy sorted out and have it done it should take care, along with the various amendments to the legislation, it should take care of many of those little issues that have come up in the reports.”

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“What about the big issues?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of Immigration Department

“Such as?”

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“Well let me ask you. What are some of the big issues in your view having read the reports?”

Edmund Zuniga – CEO of the Immigration Department

“Well certainly a big issue for us is a replacement of the passport system for instance that is a big issue having the migration policy will not fix that we have to identify a suitable replacement for the existing system which is now obsolete and of course that is going to come with its requirement for funding and so we are working on that at this point in time. Many of the weaknesses that were highlighted in regards to the issuance of functionalities many changes, many improvements have been made to the system through the amendment to the legislation in January 2014. Looking backwards is going to be a major challenge but as we move forward I can almost assure you that the Ministry is fully involved in activities leading to the issuance of nationalities.”