As instructed by the courts, it appears that investigations have once again begun into the Won Hong Kim passport scandal. Plusnews has been informed that since yesterday, Police Officers in Belmopan have been questioning relevant immigration officers, including those who were transferred from the Immigration Department in November.
The Chief Justice had said that the halt in the investigation was “irrational, unreasonable and unlawful”.
As for the three immigration officers who were taken before the Public Service Commission for their role in what has now become known as the “Elvin Penner Immigration Scandal”, reports are that Omar Phillips and Erwin Robinson received their response from the Services Commission last Friday.
Both received only a written reprimand for what have been termed as minor procedural errors. Mr. Phillips has been reportedly transferred to the Ministry of Health, while Robinson has been transferred to the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Both men were on half-salary since September, but will be reimbursed. As for Senior Officer Sharon Neal, when we spoke to her legal counsel this afternoon, she told us that she has not received any word as yet regarding her client.
Meanwhile, PUP party leader Francis Fonseca says the party is closely monitoring the situation as it relates to the investigation.
“The orders from the court deal with the Wong Hong Kim case. That was the matter that was brought to public light at the time. So, the judicial review that we sought in court and the application that we filed in court, dealt specifically with that case. Obviously, in any criminal investigation, while you are looking into a particular matter, there is a duty if you uncover other relevant facts that point to illegal activities, in respect to other offenses that may have occurred while you are pursuing that investigation. The police are duty bound as well to bring those into their investigation”.
Senator Lisa Shoman, who was unsuccessful in getting the Senate to lead an inquiry, says police do not have to wait to charge Mr. Penner.
“For the Police to start an investigation, reach a stage where they have a prima facie evidence, sufficient to charge someone, lay charges and then continue their investigation. There is absolutely no reason why and the Police Commissioner can give no explanation why he has not already charged Elvin Penner with the evidence that he had before him, and until he gives that reason, it will continue to be a matter of irrationality for him not to do so. Certainly, the court has already commented that he acted unlawfully, irrationally and unreasonably”.