By MIRIAM ZARRIGA
PROMINENT businessmen and foreigners who have become naturalised citizens are believed to be behind the operation of brothels and illegal activities in Port Moresby, says Chief Migration Officer Stanis Hulahau.
Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA) officials and police are also looking for a senior officer “on the run” to be questioned on the visa rackets associated with the illegal activities, he said.
“During the investigation (yesterday), it is astonishing to discover that prominent businessmen and naturalised citizens were behind some of the disreputable business activities conducted in this country and using proxies to disguise their illegal and undesirable business activities,” Hulahau said.
“Let me warn naturalised citizens that your citizenship award does not give you the right to engage in disreputable activities that do not conform to the laws and regulatory standards of the country.
“Be warned that you are not immune from prosecution and revocation of citizenship.
“Foreigners who are awarded naturalised citizenship must have a heart for the country (which) must be demonstrated in their actions and business conducts.”
The ICA and police officers discovered during spot checks on various businesses in Port Moresby last weekend that some lodges had been operating as brothels.
It was discovered that some lodges, used as brothels, hired rooms for K50 an hour, K80 for three hours and K100 for a day.
The spot checks were conducted at Vadavada, Erima, Gordon, Rainbow, 2-Mile and 5-Mile, following months of “intelligence gathering” by ICA officers and police.
Eight people were taken in for questioning, including two who had refugee status.
Hulahau said some foreigners “are not genuine in their loyalty and oath of allegiance towards the country as citizens”.
“Citizenship is not a conclusive right and it can be revoked should there be overwhelming evidence of disreputable activities (creating) a threat to national security and the minister will have the prerogative to cancel the citizenship of foreigners who are showing no empathy to the nation,” he said.
“As the investigation widens, more foreigners and PNG citizens involved in illegal rackets and abusing the conditions governing the use of entry permits will be investigated and prosecuted.”
Hulahau said the immigration officer on the run had been allegedly involved in a visa racket, which allowed three foreigners to obtain their visa through fraudulent means.
A female visa agent and an immigration officer have already been arrested.
Hulahau has referred three officers to Police for criminal prosecution.
The eight foreigners detained last weekend had “discrepancies” in their entry documents.
Three of them had obtained their visa by “colluding with rogue immigration officers without paying the appropriate migration service fees”.
By MIRIAM ZARRIGA