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The Auditor General’s special audit has brought to light the many cases of questionable visas, nationality certificates and passports approved in just three months between 2011 and 2013. During the Senate hearings, the discussions have pointed to a trend in the cases of irregular activity. This is that applicants for visas would then easily access nationality certificates and this would open the doors for easy passport approvals. But what if there was one more factor in all of this, that is, that once a person got nationality, they would also get voter’s ID to be able to vote. Well, at today’s hearing Ruth Meighan, who had also served as the Director in the Elections and Boundaries Department, testified that she is aware that persons who obtained nationality certificates falsely voted in the 2015 elections.

 

Eamon Courtenay - Senate Select Committee member


“Are you aware that there was an unusual amount of persons who got nationality shortly before the General election?”

 

RuthRuth Meighn – Former Immigration Officer


“Yes”


Eamon Courtenay - Senate Select Committee member


“Are you aware that ministers were heavily involved in speeding up the processing for nationality for many individuals in the fun up to that election?”


Ruth Meighn – Former Immigration Officer


“I am aware that the ministers were trying to get people process for nationality during that period.”


Eamon Courtenay - Senate Select Committee member


“On an expedited basis”


Ruth Meighn – Former Immigration Officer


“Well, the department did process a lot of application that would have maybe taken a little bit longer during that period.”


Eamon Courtenay - Senate Select Committee member


“So the answer is yes on an expedited basis?”


Ruth Meighn – Former Immigration Officer


“Yes”


Eamon Courtenay - Senate Select Committee member


“And you are aware that the purpose for that was in order for these people to be registered to vote?”


Ruth Meighn – Former Immigration Officer


“I believe that was the reason why


Eamon Courtenay - Senate Select Committee member


“And you were Director at the time?”


Ruth Meighan – Former Immigration Officer


“I was the Director at the time.”


Eamon Courtenay - Senate Select Committee member


“Are you aware that quite a number of those who got nationality, their files were incomplete?”


Ruth Meighan – Former Immigration Officer


“That’s what I noted from the report, yes.”


Eamon Courtenay - Senate Select Committee member


“Those persons whose files were not complete did not qualify at that time to get Belizean Nationality?”


Ruth Meighan – Former Immigration Officer


“Those persons did not qualified but the file that was presented and could clearly remember my minister coming back and telling me because we were concern that the process that they were requesting a lot of files and we’ve said that we have to ensure that all the applicants meet the requirement for Nationality and that was clearly stated throughout the department and so any files that came to us for approval they were presented as qualified applicant.”

 

Eamon Courtenay - Senate Select Committee member


“You don’t know Mrs. Meighan that many of them were fraudulently prepared?”


Ruth Meighan – Former Immigration Officer


“Yes”


The Senate has the power to call for an investigation into the activities at the Elections and Boundaries office in relation to this investigation, so we will see if this is a course of action they will take.

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