Govt. probes passport allegations

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet: Agafili Shem Leo.

Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet: Agafili Shem Leo. (Photo: Samoa Observer)

The government through the Immigration Office has launched an investigation into allegations that someone is “selling Samoan passports” online.

This was confirmed in a press statement issued by the Press Secretary yesterday.

“As required under the Passport Act and the Public Service Act, the Immigration division of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has begun an investigation in to allegations of a potential breach of the Passport Act,” the stamen reads.  

“This is in relation to reports received by the Ministry last week that passports have been illegally procured."  

“The Ministry takes any allegation seriously and wishes to assure the public that security of our passports remains intact.  Relevant action in accordance with the law will be taken upon completion of the investigation."  

“The Immigration Office will continue to monitor, review and improve processes to ensure the safety and security of Samoa.”

The statement did not say how long the investigation will take and what exactly they are after.  

But the Samoa Observer understands that the allegation was made in an email from one “Joanna Slewion,” which the Samoa Observer had referred to the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as the Ministry responsible for Immigration.

According to the email, the person claims that someone is “selling Samoa passport out to African (sic).”

The email said, “He even fooled me to send my 1000 U.S. dollars to him that he was going to give me the passport to go to Europe.” 

The money was sent however there has been no contact from the alleged passport procurer. The email to the Samoa Observer indicates that this has been ongoing. 

 “He has been processing Samoa Apia passports for others and they have used it to travel to Europe,” the email claims.

The informant said he has reported the matter to the Immigration Office in Samoa. 

“I ask him for my money back and he refuses to do so I contacted the Immigration. I got only few reply till now. I have not gotten my money from him.”

Attached in the email to the Samoa Observer are copies of the Samoan passports with photos of people who appear to be foreigners.

When the email arrived last week, the Samoa Observer immediately contacted the Immigration Office and the Office of the Press Secretariat for a comment.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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