Former immigration boss on trial in cash for visas scandal

 

The former director of the National Immigration Service (NMS) María Cristina González  got “economic benefits” for approving visas for Chinese, Cubans  and East Indians says anti-corruption prosecutor, Lizzette Chevalier

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The visas were for three Chinese, a Cuban and four East Indians living in Bangladesh.

The case was referred to the Third Criminal Court on  June 25  and a preliminary hearing begins Friday July 20.

Chevalier asked for judgment for Gonzalez, the former head of theNMS  department for authorizing visas along with Edy Sáez, and lawyers Julissa Carrizo Hildebrando Vallester and three others accused of corruption, influence peddling and. 

According to the prosecution says La Prensa the investigation established that  four passports, wrapped in newspapers were sent from Bangladesh to Panama and were discovered as they passed through customs in Miami, where it was found that the multiple visas stamped in their non-resident pages were false, and the Panamanian authorities were notified.

The paper quotes the statement of Manuel Rodriguez, aka Machete, who served as a key witness in the investigation and stated that when detecting that the documents were false, Gonzalez gave $43.000 in cash to return to the Anwar Rahman family  who had paid for the visas.

The prosecutor points out visual inspections carried out in NMS confirmed that on January 3, 2011 a password was entered in  the department’s  computer system with the name of an official who is not on the payroll, "with the intent to approve the visas without a trace of the person who did it."

Eight questioned visas were authorized during the administration of Gonzalez in migration, but in tax terms not detailed how much it would cost the exfuncionary to approve.

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