Suspension over passport probe
Samoa’s Immigration Office has suspended an Immigration employee while they investigate the alleged sale of Samoan passports online.
David Nomereta Uaine, the suspended officer, confirmed the decision when he was contacted by the Samoa Observer. He said he was informed of his suspension yesterday.
“They already told me about it,” Mr. Uaine said during an interview with the Samoa Observer over the phone.
Mr. Uaine declined to discuss the allegations against him.
“I have been defamed and I cannot say anything to the press,” he said.
“I understand that I am already defamed so I don’t want to say anything at the moment.
“But for the time being let’s wait for the outcome of the investigation.
“I understand and I know you had tried to contact me. I just can’t comment about what happened, I just want to know who released the information to you.”
Last week, Attorney General Lemalu Herman P. Retzlaff, issued a ‘prohibition order’ for Mr. Uaine and a member of the public, Fitu Goshe.
The order, leaked to the Samoa Observer, stops them from leaving the country while the investigation is in progress.
Signed by the Attorney General, the order was addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Samoa Immigration, Agafili Shem Leo.
The alleged sale of passports was put to the attention of the Immigration Office by the Samoa Observer, which led to the government launching their investigation into the allegations that someone is “selling Samoan passports” online.
According to the ‘prohibition order’ the suspects “are required to be available in Samoa as part of an investigation of a criminal offense punishable in Samoa by imprisonment of two years or more”.
The issue came to light when 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 had reported the matter to the Immigration Office in Samoa.
“I ask him for my money back and he refused to do it, so I contacted the Immigration. I got only a little reply until now. I have not gotten my money from him.”