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Immigration Officer Mark Tench was in the hot seat yesterday for two principal issues. The first is his discovery of visas gone missing from the Department and the second is his involvement in the issuance of the infamous Kim Won Hong passport. The Auditor General’s special audit report notes that it was Tench who delivered the passport to the driver of former Minister Elvin Penner, identified as a Mr. Cante. While Tench denies the specific allegations that he left the building to hand over the passport, the Senate Committee became very suspicious because Tench had been demoted to the post of printer at the time and it was outside of the scope of his regular duties. Under interrogation, Tench said the Minister’s driver brought a purported authorisation letter from Kim Won Hong, who you will recall was all the way in a Taiwan jail. According to Tench, he didn’t see the need to verify the letter.


Aldo Salazar – Chairman Special Senate Select Committee


“In your recollection is that you gave Cante?”


Screen_Shot_2017-03-01_at_6.58.28_PMMark Tench – Former Immigration Officer Western Border


“I gave the minister’s driver, I can’t remember their name.”


Senator Eamon Courtney – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“Mr. Tench, specific in relation to Wong Hong Kim, do you recall printing that passport?”


Mark Tench – Former Immigration Officer Western Border


“That specific passport”


Senator Eamon Courtney – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“Yes”


Mark Tench – Former Immigration Officer Western Border


“No Sir, I had so many passport that I would print per day I would just spent maybe a minute and half per say on passports.”


Senator Eamon Courtney – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“But, you remember delivering?”


Mark Tench – Former Immigration Officer Western Border


“No, because I remember that it was a busy day, I remember that when I tried to as with all things you recollect I know that I had to be me print the passport because I was the only printer there and I recollect that I assisted Mr. Amaya in issuing passports that day.”


Senator Eamon Courtney – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“We want to focus specifically on the Wong Hong Kim, you recall someone asking you to deliver that specific passport?”

 

Mark Tench – Former Immigration Officer Western Border


“No, I recall Mrs. Neal asking me to assist Mr. Amaya.”


Senator Eamon Courtney – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“This is Sharon Neal?”


Mark Tench – Former Immigration Officer Western Border


“Yes Sir, my supervisor”


Senator Mark Lizaraga – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“Passport is very important document.”


Mark Tench – Former Immigration Officer Western Border


“I know”


Senator Mark Lizaraga – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“Explain to me this process of safe guarding and ensuring that the department delivers to the proper person, what you described a while ago was a little loose to me and just want to be clear; you say people need to have to send an authorization if you are not coming to pick it up personally, right, so I would ask Senator Rocke to pick up my passport and I would sign a note but I would have to give him maybe an ID you said?”


Mark Tench – Former Immigration Officer Western Border


“Normally”


Senator Mark Lizaraga – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“Normally, but at sometimes would the department accept that authorization without an ID?”


Mark Tench – Former Immigration Officer Western Border


“Sometimes”


Senator Mark Lizaraga – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“So would they know I am the person that signed?”


Mark Tench – Former Immigration Officer Western Border


“That’s a good question.”


Senator Mark Lizaraga – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“So the system was loose?”


Mark Tench – Former Immigration Officer Western Border


“Probably”


Senator Mark Lizaraga – Member Special Senate Select Committee


“Ok


Tench also noted that because it was the Minister’s driver picking up the passport he didn’t suspect wrongdoing. And so, he missed the many obvious signs that would send off smoke signals, including that the signature on the false authorisation letter was not the same as other documents for Kim, and neither than when he printed the passport, the picture was a black and white copy and clearly not a picture taken in person at the Immigration office.

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