Screen_Shot_2014-06-12_at_8.37.24_PMDisgraced Former Minister Elvin Penner was in court on May 29th after Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA, brought on a private prosecution against him after government and authorities failed to start a criminal investigations into his involvement in the issuance of illegal passports to a number of individuals, one of which is the infamous Kin Won Hong.


Two weeks from today, on June 26th, the case returns to court and from the looks of things, COLA may have gotten their hands on some evidence that can help in their prosecution. In a press conference held today, COLA executives and its attorney Kareem Musa, shared information leaked to them about three days ago. And COLA apparently shed some five hundred dollars for that information as it came after they announced monetary reward for any information that could help their case against Penner.


That information is contained in a preliminary report done by the Auditor General who has been investigating the immigration scandal. President of COLA, Giovanni Brackett, indicated that the report states that during the investigation, there was much resistance from Director Maria Marin and former Minister Penner himself as both evaded requests from the Auditor General’s Office for records. Brackett says the report accuses both officials as uncooperative.

Geovanni Brackett - President – COLA

“This is actual corruption to the highest level."

Jules Vasquez reporting

“It was a part press conference, part rally complete with placards, military type "combat" suits, politicians - and lots of voices raised in outrage”

Geovanni Brackett - President – COLA

"When you are dealing with something as serious as this it's not about media frenzy."

But still, it was a packed press conference - everyone eager to hear what's in the Auditor General's report, but we wouldn't be allowed to see it:

Geovanni Brackett - President – COLA

"COLA is taking on a private prosecution not Channel 7 charade. COLA is taking on a private prosecution and we are answerable to the courts. Our information that has been leak to us is a very serious issue Mr. Vasquez. We have to protect our sources."

And protecting their sources meant reading from a report we couldn't see. A report that they say heaps condemnation on Minister of Immigration Godwin Hulse and Director of Immigration Maria Marin:

Geovanni Brackett - President – COLA

"Mrs. Marin consistently found ways to evade request made by the audit department for access to these records. According to the report, she would tell them to go to the minister. The minister has been playing saint in the media claiming to help the process along. But after reading this report it is safe to conclude here at COLA that the minister has been at the very least uncooperative."

They quote the report as referring to more files like Citizen Kim:

And while Brackett sighted several difficulties reportedly faced by the Auditor General’s Office in getting vital records to complete the report, there was also a very important piece of information sighted in the report. Brackett shared a scenario of how one individual, a Peter Pang, obtained his Belizean nationality without following procedures but his name was not the only one called.

Kareem Musa INSERT

"There were 5 instances involving the very same Elvin Penner issuing passports illegally to 5 different individuals. None of these 5 individuals have ever step foot on Belizean soil before they receive Belizean nationality and a Belizean passport. 2); none of them have permanent resident status. 3); the signatures that were found on the passport application forms did not match their signatures found on legal documents. You can draw your own conclusions as to who signed those passport application forms for those 5 individuals. 4); the nationality certificates for all 5 were back dated and the auditor general's report says back dated by Elvin Penner. In all 5 instances there is an application fee that you have to pay. It is $300 in order for you to get your nationality certificate. You pay that to the government of Belize."

The irregularities sighted are a violation under section 22 of the Belizean Nationality Act says Musa.

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