No Departure Prohibition Order on murder suspect: Immigration

The Immigration Department did not receive a Departure Prohibition Order (D.P.O) to prevent a murder suspect from fleeing the country despite surrendering his travel documents.

This was the response from the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (M.P.M.C), Agafili Shem Leo, who said the Immigration office did not issue a passport for Mr. Vai. 

“No person named Junior Vai was ever issued a travel document,” said Agafili. “And no D.P.O. was ever received for Mr. Junior Vai.” 

Junior Vai, of Vaitele is facing an attempted murder charge and was scheduled to appear in the Supreme Court last week. He did not turn up in Court.

According to the C.E.O., his office communicated with the Attorney General’s Office to verify the name of the accused.

He said after communication with the office of the A.G., it confirmed there was no travel document or D.P.O. ever issued to a Junior Vai. 

Meanwhile, Agafili said it is important to note that the Border Management System (B.M.S.) tracks the identity of a person based on the bio data of the passport holder. 

The bio data specifies the name, date of birth, place of birth, place and date of issuance, and date of expiry of passport, he added. 

“When we run due diligence checks and identity matching on the B.M.S., it requires the full bio data,” he said. 

“That is how immigration processes operate to ensure that the bio data matches with the information on the system.” 

In the Supreme Court last week, Justice Leiataualesa Daryl Clarke questioned how the attempted murder suspect managed to flee the country. 

He urged the prosecution to find out how the accused managed to leave the country and whether he was issued with another passport. 

Prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General, Magele Leone Su’a said Mr. Vai was ordered to surrender his travel documents on 17 July the previous year and instructed to sign in with the Police station. 

 The letter from M.P.M.C. C.E.O. is published below in verbatim 

 16th March, 2020 

Lanuola Tusani Tupufia – Ah Tong 

Samoa Observer 

 RE: Mr. Junior Vai of Vaitele 

Talofa e, o a mai oe? O le Aso Gafua lenei o le amataga o lenei vaiaso matagofie i le susulu o le la, o le faailoga vaaia o loo soifua Iesu Keriso, o le Ao o le Eklaesia, o loo faavae ai le atunuu pele o Samoa. 

Your brief email of Friday 13 March, 2020 on the above matter refers, in which you subsequently authored an article on the Sunday Samoan of 15th March, 2020. You may recall that I had responded to your enquiries twice on email and said that I would check with the Immigration Division for verification. 

It is important to note that the border management system (BMS) tracks the identity based on the bio data of the passport holder. The bio data specifies the name, date of birth, place of birth, place and date of issuance, and date of expiry of passport. When an enquiry is made on a specific name, the Immigration requires that the full bio data. Names are not just names on the BMS. When we run due diligence checks and identity matching on the BMS, it requires the full bio data. That is how immigration processes operate to ensure that the bio data matches with the information on the system. 

I had said in my emails that we would check with the AGs Office to verify the name you had mentioned if it was involving a court case. Communication has been made with the AGs Office on same and the Ministry advises as follows;

  1. No person named Junior Vai was ever issued a travel document; and 
  2. No DPO was ever received for Mr. Junior Vai. 

 

I hope the above clarifies this matter. We would appreciate this to be printed on the next edition of the Samoa Observer. 

 God bless you. 

 Agafili Tomaiman Shem Leo 

CEO, MPMC  

 

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