Alleged Fraudulent Bahamian Visas Under Investigation

Thursday 06th, March 2014 / 11:30 Published by

Alleged Fraudulent Issuance & Sale Of Bahamian Entry Visas To Haitian Nationals Under Investigation

visa-passportWill the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Royal Bahamas Police Force confirm and advise The Bahamian people of the following:

1 – That the alleged fraudulent issuance and sale of Bahamian entry visas to Haitian nationals through The Bahamas Embassy in Haiti was turned over to the Royal Bahamas Police Force by the Ministry for investigation, with a forensic Ministry audit conducted several weeks ago on the matter, and with Police Force departments including the Central Detective Unit (CDU) being in possession of the files from that audit as part of their investigations.

2 – That one aspect of the investigation involves the alleged issuance of several thousand Bahamian entry visas to Haitian nationals from The Bahamas Embassy in Haiti over a period of approximately the last 6 months.

3 – That a second aspect of the investigation involves the alleged sale of Bahamian entry visas to Haitian nationals at approximately $1,000 a piece, allegedly facilitated and/or carried out by a consultant in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via breaches in Ministry of Foreign Affairs email accounts and the use of another non-government hosted email address. Approximately 40 of these visas were allegedly sold to Haitian nationals over a 3-4 month period.

4 – That alleged attempts were made to disguise the issuance of several thousand entry visas through, but not limited to, the doctoring of relevant documentation.

5 – Whether the Minister of Foreign Affairs has allegedly given directives, in connection with this matter, for the Embassy to suspend its current issuance of entry visas to Haitian nationals at this time and to instead, forward applications to the Ministry in Nassau.

6 – That the consultant allegedly at the center of this investigation remains unmoved and in post at the Ministry.

Bahamian entry visas to Haitian nationals are issued through The Bahamas Embassy in Haiti and the Ministry’s offices in New Providence. Entry visa applications entail a vetting process that includes the involvement and affirmation of a Sponsor. The Sponsor is responsible for the applicant, verifying his/her purpose for travelling to The Bahamas, the address wherein the applicant will reside while in The Bahamas and when the applicant is scheduled to return to Haiti. Entry visas can be granted for a single visit lasting no more than 3 months, or for multiple visits within a maximum one-year period.

In addition to the seriousness of an alleged sale of visas and the alleged extraordinary volume of visas being issued in a single day adding up to thousands in several months, one of the serious concerns is that the visa application’s vetting processes were allegedly not followed. Hence, the Ministry’s audit allegedly determined that the Ministry is unable to determine or confirm the identities or whereabouts of persons who would have become recipients of these Bahamian entry visas in Haiti.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs must advise the Bahamian people on this matter, its investigation before the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the forensic audit on the same, conducted by the Ministry.

Will the Minister also advise whether recent immigration roadblocks in Nassau ordered by the government were carried out in part or the whole, as an attempt to locate any of the persons who would have been allegedly granted Bahamian entry visas as part of this investigated matter.

Sharon Turner

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