Immigration Department Scandal Unveiled: Employee on Leave Amidst Fraud Probe

Immigration Department Scandal Unveiled: Employee on Leave Amidst Fraud Probe

An employee at the Immigration Department is on a 30-day administrative leave, giving the government time to investigate cases of theft and fraudulent passport receipts.  According to reports, the issue stems from within the Belize City Passport Office where fake receipts were manufactured, and monies were taken from passport revenues.  The fake receipts were allegedly used to issue to consumers, but were not registered in the system.  Prime Minister John Briceno, who holds the portfolio for immigration, explained that the investigation is in its early stages. 

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “I think it’s really a stretch when you’re calling it a blunder because I don’t see how it could be a blunder. The point is that as soon as the minister is aware about it they acted. Now I can’t go into any details because obviously it’s still under investigation but I could assure you that if there is any wrongdoing that has been done, and we get enough evidence, we are going to act on it immediately. What I can add to it as you probably know is that this individual has already been removed from his force, I think for 30 days, whilst the investigation is going on. I think I would want to look at it slightly different than being a black eye. It is showing that our ministry will not continue to tolerate that kind of behavior from our officers and that whenever it comes to our attention, we are going to act. Remember, it’s human nature that we are dealing here. And as much as we put the proper processes in place, you know, people that want to do something wrong they’re going to try to be as creative as possible as they could possibly can to be able to in this instance I believe to defraud the government, in this case the Ministry of Immigration.”

Prime Minister Briceno was unable to indicate the amount stolen, and the exact number of fake receipts that were issued.

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