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Julio Valdez points out irregularities in issuance of nationality certificates

In 2013, the now retired Assistant Superintendent of Police, Julio Valdez, was in charge of investigating the case of eight missing visas from the Immigration Department in Belmopan. During his investigation, Valdez figured out that someone took the documents from the Immigration Department to the house of Attorney Arthur Saldivar who refused to give a statement on how he received the files. As Valdez went deeper into the investigation, he realized that serious irregular practices were being done at the department. He noticed that foreigners were being granted Belizean nationality without having met the requirements. As he investigated, he uncovered a pattern- false addresses were on some Belizean nationality applications. He then decided to visit the immigration office at the Phillip Goldson International Airport to figure out if these persons had stepped foot in Belize. He told the Senate Select Committee yesterday; only three persons were on record of having arrived in Belize via the PGIA. Those three persons received Belizean nationality days after they arrived.

Senator Mark Lizarraga
“How did you come by this information? What did you see at the PGIA to confirm that they did in fact come in?

Julio Valdez – Former Assistant Superintendent of Police
“When I went there I asked for the manifest, there is a manifest of each passenger coming into the country documented stored and they can update and tell you who or when so that they made checks on that. Based on that it only showed that these three persons were the only persons who had entered Belize through the PGIA on the 10th of April 2013. As I mentioned I went to the addresses that they used when they landed as well as the address used in the nationality certificate copies and I mentioned those addresses were nonexistent, they were there but nobody lived there. After having found out that these persons, three of them entered Belize on the 10th of April and by the 18th of May, my investigation said the 18th of May one month they had acquired nationality.

Senator Mark Lizarraga
Did you bring this to the attention of Director Marin as well?


Julio Valdez – Former Assistant Superintendent of Police
“Yes this was discussed and as I mentioned she was concerned and knew that something was wrong at the Immigration Department.”