Taiwanese National Injured During Traffic Mishap

A Taiwanese national who resides here in Orange Walk Town is lucky to be alive tonight after he was ...

The Wanted Fugitive, Dr. Errol Elrington Still At Large

In December we told you about an extradition request made by United States authorities for Attorney ...

Prime Minister On Medical Check Up Leave

Prime Minister Dean Barrow departed the country today for a follow-up medical consultative appointme...

  • Taiwanese National Injured During Traffic Mishap

    Wednesday, 17 January 2018 02:26
  • The Wanted Fugitive, Dr. Errol Elrington Still At Large

    Wednesday, 17 January 2018 02:29
  • Prime Minister On Medical Check Up Leave

    Wednesday, 17 January 2018 02:33

Former Officer in Charge of the Nationality Department, Gordon Wade, appeared before the Senate Select Committee today as it held its eighth hearing session as part of a probe into the Auditor General’s special audit report into Immigration irregularities. Wade was scheduled to appear in the afternoon session, following the morning witness Immigration Officer Ady Pacheco. But once Pacheco didn’t show up for health reasons, Wade was asked to turn up.

Wade is a senior immigration officer with 27 years’ experience. Today he had to answer tough questions about the role he played at the Immigration Department and whether he was a player in any of the irregularities cited in the report. As has been the case at previous hearings in which two former Directors have appeared, Wade found it important to state what his responsibilities were and why they exculpate him from any wrongdoing.


Senator Aldo Salazar - Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“What did this vetting entail?


Screen_Shot_2017-02-01_at_7.57.49_PMGordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“This vetting was basically summarizing the file, giving a recommendation whether or not I figured that the file met the requirement for Nationality and like is said I would state in my vetting what was produced for that specific file and finish off with a recommendation to the Director.”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“In the case of someone who had a visa, you look at the VISA in the passport?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Right”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“Or you look at the first stamp in the passport, the date when the person entered the country.”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Right”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“Was there any process by which your office would compare what you were seeing in the passport with the records for the issuance of VISAS?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Not during the time that I was there.”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“Do you feel that having some form or independent verification would have assisted the department?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Definitely it would, a networking of the section.”


Wade said that he had read the report although not in a comprehensive manner. He was prepared to discuss aspects of the report however, especially those sections which he claims did not reflect what he had told the auditor general. For example, Wade denies that he told the audit team that nationalities were processed on the strength of letters from Ministers. Exactly what that means, is unclear, but Wade said he didn’t say so. This claim sparked more questions by the Senators, who said that the Auditor General will have to provide evidence of the statements.


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“You’re saying that for the auditor general to have put this in a report is inaccurate?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“I don’t recall making that statement any at all.”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“So you never said this to Mrs Farber or any of the Audit team?”


Senator Elena Smith - Member, Senate Selection Committee


“Mr. Wade you are saying that you do not recall you saying this any at all, is it that you do not recall or is it that you would not have said what is here or you would not have said portions that is here?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Probably this is something we’ve talked but I don’t recall doing interview where this was stated to the Auditor or the Audit team.”


Senator Elena Smith - Member, Senate Selection Committee


“So it might not have been said in an interview but probably in a discussion that you all were having you probably said it then, is that what you are telling us?”


Screen_Shot_2017-02-01_at_7.57.59_PMGordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Probably it is something in that general but not anything that is like this I don’t recall mentioning or saying anything like this to any member of the audit team, so this if false.”


Senator Elena Smith - Member, Senate Selection Committee


“Mr. Wade I am still not clear you are saying that you cannot recall saying this in an interview but you may have said it…”

Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“No, because just look at the opening statement; myself I don’t know by saying minister can approve nationality with one letter what does that mean, if I would have said that what would that meant, to approve nationality with one letter ?”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“I think it is very easy to address this; did you say this or not?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“No”


Eamon Courteny – Member of Senate Select Committee


“That’s is why we are putting these specific things and there are more in here that when you comeback will be put to you because as you know or maybe you don’t now the auditor general and her team will come back and so they are saying that on the 13th of March 2014 you told them this and so the only way for us to resolve it to put it to you and you deny it for them to come and I assuming they are going to bring their notes with them because this is an exact notation if you noticed so this is a matter that has to be resolve because you can understand the significance of what is here.”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“And you’ve asked several times and you I say no.”


But what is not inaccurate is the Auditor General’s explanation of the Elvin Penner/Won Hong Kim files and Wade’s role as the officer in charge. Now, the story of Penner and Won Hong Kim, which led to an international scandal, are well-known. Wade openly discussed how he encountered the name Won Hong Kim, he said, when Minister Penner went to him asking why the files were not being processed.


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“You told the Minister to bring in the required documentation?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“He promised to bring the required documentation.”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“So you had specific interaction with then Minister Penner?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Yes Sir”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“In relation to this file”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Yes Sir”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“Did he bring straight to you?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“No Sir”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“How did the file come to you or did it come about?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“The file was brought into the office by him, it was submitted at the front desk at the acceptance clerk.”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“That is your understanding or were you with him?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“No I was not with him.”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“Ok, so it was submitted at the acceptance clerk and how did it get to you I want to know how is it that you ended up getting involved in this file.”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“As I mentioned I am the final Vetter so all files comes to me.”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“Right so what happens, I want to know what happened, did it came to you and?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“What came to me, the file or …?”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“The file”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“As I am saying as the final Vetter in the section all files comes to me in this particular case you are talking about the minister came to inquire whether the file was ready or not f or which I responded to him we are awaiting the additional documents you promised.”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“What I am trying to get at is that you are not aware of every single file by name?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Right”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“So there had to have been something that occurred which made you aware of this file.”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Files are brought to my office on a weekly basis for vetting, files are accepted at the front counter, they are sent to the registry where there are prepared and put in a file form and on a weekly basis an amount is  brought to my office for vetting.”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee

 

“So minister Penner came to you and asked whether this particular file was ready?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Right”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“And you would have checked on the file?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Right”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“And you noted what?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“That the file was incomplete.”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“Can you recall what was incomplete?”

 

Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“If I am not mistaken I think it was the complete copy of the passport and I think a police record they had applied but they hadn’t gotten the actual police record yet something to that effect, I haven’t seen that file for the past four to five years I can’t remember specifically what was missing at that time.”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“But it was incomplete?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“It was incomplete”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“And you told him it cannot be processed?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Well, I told him I cannot process the file until the other documents are presented which would had made the file complete.”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“And that’s when he told me he was going to take it to the next level which is the Director, ok  he never came back to you in relation to that file?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Never comeback to me with that file”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“Did the Director mention the file to you at any point?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“No”


Senator Aldo Salazar, Chairman, Senate Select Committee


“So that is the last you heard about that file?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“When he informed he that he would take it to the Director that’s the last I saw heard and saw of that file.”

Penner was not the only politician who personally sought services from the immigration Department. Under oath, Wade was asked to list the names of those who were regularly seen at Immigration. Those names may not be of much surprise to anyone.


Senator Elena Smith - Member, Senate Selection Committee


“Mr. Wade what was read to you it said that you indicated that this was a usual practise of various ministers, right? Could you indicate who you were referring when you said various ministers?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“What do you mean? Calling names”


Senator Elena Smith - Member, Senate Selection Committee


“Yes Sir”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“During that period it was the usual for ministers to come in and bring in applications/ services at our department for their constituents.”


Senator Elena Smith - Member, Senate Selection Committee


“I don’t know who those ministers are, so you indicated that there were usual ministers so who those ministers were?”

 

Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“Like I mentioned there were several ministers; there was minister from Belmopan, minister Saldivar, minister Contreras, Minister Marin, Minister Heredia, and Minister Castro.”


Aldo Salazar – Chairman Senate Select Committee


“When you say usual practise can you elaborate on that because the question is asked that usual parties what are you talking about?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“I think it’s the Senator made the reference to where I said that this was the usual practise for ministers to bring in applications.”


Aldo Salazar – Chairman Senate Select Committee


“I want you to elaborate on what practise you are referring to when you said it’s the usual practise?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“For them to bring in the applications there were being informed that you know what this is what is missing and they would always promise to bring in the missing documents for which they did most of the time that is what I referred to.”


Aldo Salazar – Chairman Senate Select Committee


“Ok, was the application taken directly to you or taken to the entry clerk?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“As I mentioned before it was forwarded at the front desk at the acceptance clerk.”


Aldo Salazar – Chairman Senate Select Committee


“I am not talking about the Wong Hong Kim one I am talking about this practise.”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“In general all the files would be taken to the clerk at the front.”


Aldo Salazar – Chairman Senate Select Committee


“So it was not the practise that they would bypass the clerk and bring it to you directly?”


Gordon Wade – Senior Immigration Officer


“No, because I don’t accept files”


The Senate hearings will resume next Wednesday when it is expected that Immigration Officer Edgar Cano will testify. Wade has been asked to return on February 22nd.

Share this post

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comment.