OC: Flaws in passport case

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By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
THE Ombudsman Commission has recommended that an investigation be conducted into the granting of PNG citizenship to Indonesian fugitive Djoko Tjandra six years ago.
In a report tabled in Parliament yesterday, the commission recommended that former Foreign Affairs Minister Ano Pala and former Chief Immigration Officer Mataio Rabura (now deceased) be investigated for the granting of the citizenship to Tjandra in 2012. The report was presented to Speaker Job Pomat last week by acting Chief Ombudsman Michael Dick and Commissioner Richard Pagen.
It was tabled yesterday by acting Speaker Jeffery Komal.
Leader of Government Business James Marape yesterday requested to the House that the report be debated at a later session.
Tjandra, before becoming a naturalised PNG citizen, was wanted by the Indonesian government for his alleged part in the collapse of a bank in Bali.
In the report, the Ombudsman Commission recommended that Pala be investigated for misconduct in office and Rabura for assisting in facilitating the issuing of a PNG passport to Tjandra under his new name of Joe Chan.
The report also implicated former acting Chief Migration Officer Joseph Nobetau and former immigration visa director Delilah So’osane for issuing Tjandra two Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation business travel cards in 2009.
The commission’s report found that laws and regulations guiding the issuing of entry permits including long-term (permanent residence) permit, granting of citizenship by naturalisation and issuing of PNG passports to Tjandra were not complied with.
It blamed the irregularities on the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority, the Citizenship Advisory Committee and Pala.
The Ombudsman’s report pointed out the:

  • Issuing of two Apec business travel card permits to Tjandra in February and June 2009;
  • improper and unlawful approval and issuing of a permanent resident permit to Tjandra;
  • misapplication of power by Foreign Affairs Minister Ano Pala in exercising his discretionary powers under Section 20 of the Migration Act to exempt Tjandra from permanent residence requirements;
  • improper and unlawful conduct by Pala in granting the citizenship to Tjandra;
  • improper and unlawful issuing of PNG Passports No B328500 to Tjandra by Rabura and the Immigration officers; and,
  • Improper and unlawful issuing of PNG passport No B330971 and PNG passport No C116701 to Joe Chan contrary to the Passports Act and Passports Regulations by Rabura and the Immigration officers.

The Ombudsman Commission said the Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority had failed to live up to the obligations entrusted to it by the State. “It failed to ensure that the relevant laws including the Constitution, the Migrations Act and Migration Regulations, the Citizenship Act and Citizenship Regulations and the Passports Act, and Passports Regulations were strictly complied with when dealing with Tjandra’s applications for entry permits, citizenship and passports.”
Pala could be not be reached for a comment yesterday.

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