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Valdez speaks on irregularities within Nationality Department

During his investigation into the theft of eight visas, the now retired Assistant Superintendent of Police, Julio Valdez began uncovering serious irregularities within the nationality department. He noticed a startling trend which allowed foreigners to be granted Belizean nationality without having qualified. He shared with the committee the troublesome abnormalities he found within the application process for Belizean nationality.

Julio Valdez – Retired Assistant Superintendent of Police
“Seeing what I had in front of me, I knew that something was wrong. I took that up and said I will use the experience. If I receive a report of burglary and I visit a house and I find a dead man in there I’m not going to leave the dead man and deal with the robbery I am going to pick up the murder. And I saw what this was coming from and so I decided to venture into that side, the nationality itself and that is what I did. As I mentioned, I used to visit Ms. Marin, update her, spoke to her I still used to go back and re-interview people once a name comes back I go back and re-interview and ask why this or why that. I had asked for some original files because there were some copies and I was shown some, I cannot remember the files I saw but yes I was shown some documents. Just the process of how the file is being kept I knew that there were some nationality files, the green jackets I mentioned were stolen in the filing jacket, there was also a file and there were copies; once a nationality certificate is issued or approved there are copies made and one is placed in the file itself for the person with its own BNA number along with copies of his applications, one was placed in jacket and that was maybe the master file. That was also brought to Ms. Marin that what was happening and she agreed and I continued the investigation and I visited certain locations. I tried to confirm the addresses used. I then proceeded to the PGIA and spoke to the port commander there.”

Senator Eamon Courtney
“Did you find anything significant about the addresses used?”

Julio Valdez – Retired Assistant Superintendent of Police
“From my experience working in Belize City yes.”

Senator Eamon Courtney
“What was the significance of these addresses?”

Julio Valdez – Retired Assistant Superintendent of Police
“The area itself was repeated repeatedly, it was not only one person using that address, it was an address that was used repeatedly and those addresses like Las Flores was repeated, Trial Farm Orange Walk was repeated, 21 Vernon Street is used repeatedly; days gone by there was just a small Chinese Shop there the address is still there but nothing is there; 35 Riverside Street Benque Viejo was an empty lot and just bush. Santiago Juan Layout Cayo, Las Flores again, and there is a street that brought interest to me because of recent I had left Dangriga as the officer commanding Stann Creek and there was an address Sabal Street in Dangriga. From my knowledge there is not Sabal Street in Dangriga there is a Sabal Community but there is no Sabal Street and this featured prominently in applications in nationality certificates that these addresses were being used.”

Valdez compiled a report which was sent to the DDP. Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie says he was aware of such irregularities.

Senator Mark Lizarraga: Did you write a final report on this and did you inform your superiors?

Julio Valdez – Retired Assistant Superintendent of Police
“I could not move without informing my superiors and as a matter of fact there was an investigation files conducted so any movement that we do that is in that file. There is an investigation file that I did in that matter, the missing documents which coupled together with what I was finding, I also had in my possession copies of the documents so I did in fact have an investigation file and the end result of that in my final report on the overall investigation of what I did and that was sent to the DPP.”

Senator Mark Lizarraga
“Okay and what happened?”

Julio Valdez – Retired Assistant Superintendent of Police
“She perused the files and then she advised us of what we needed to do.”

Allen Whylie – Commissioner of Police
“I know Mr.Valdez provided me with a verbal briefing in terms of several visits he had made to the Immigration, difficulty in assessing certain officers who were working there, he also indicated that he had seen other documents which were more than what had originally said by Mr.Saldivar and I was not satisfied with the progress of the investigation because I felt the investigation should have been more ahead but the impression I got was he was perhaps running into some roadblocks at the Immigration department and I reminded him that as police we do have a responsibility to investigate and that he needed to get into the Immigration and to see all those files and that if I needed to sign a search warrant for him to do that I was prepared to do so and I also indicated to him that I would call the director of immigration in terms of what he was saying to me and I also told him that all the discrepancies that he had seen, all the things he had uncovered that he needed to whenever he is completed with his investigation that all those things he discovered and all those discrepancies were highlighted in his report to the DPP.