Two freelance visa agents were arrested and charged by police in Port Moresby last week for being involved in producing fake bank deposit receipts to lodge visa applications at Immigration.
“These unscrupulous individuals have been doing this for sometime by cheating Immigration and making money from unsuspecting clients. We willcontinue to track down and arrest agents who dishonestly and fraudulently produce false receipts to obtain our service” , said Mr Kantha.
On 26 February 2019, Brendan Waiman from East Sepik Province was alleged to have given a BSP cheque deposit receipt worth K5,000 to Aisoli Masep from New Ireland Province who attempted to lodge a visa application. When Masep presented the payment receipt he was queried about the payment and detained by Immigration officers.
Masep was transferred to the Police Minor Crimes Division at Gordons. Further interrogation by police led to the arrest of Brendan Waiman and his partner Peter Komi from Hela province. One of the suspects had in his possession a stolen BSP cheque book that belonged to a known visa agent that the suspects were using to make fraudulent payments. The suspects were charged under the Criminal Code Act on two counts each for conspiring to defraud Immigration and issuing of valueless cheques.
Mr Kantha said Immigration has detected fraudulent cheque payments made by unscrupulous visa agents since November 2017 that amounts to almost K100,000.
"We will be working closely with the Department of Finance to track these payments. It is likely that a bank officer may also be involved to facilitate these receipts, said Mr Kantha.
Mr Kantha warned migration service agents that Immigration will continue to monitor and have agents involved in such illegal activities charged andprosecuted.