Symonette: No proof of Immigration Officers accepting bribes

Symonette: No proof of Immigration Officers accepting bribes
Minister of Immigration, Brent Symonette.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – On the heels of a human rights report which suggested that Immigration Officers were being bribed, Minister of Immigration Brent Symonette said yesterday that no legitimate cases have been reported to him.

“We have to be careful. People go around saying this one [has] bribed that one, this one [has] bribed [the other] one. I hear it all the time, but no one has yet to come forward to me with proof,” he said.

A recently released Human Rights Report suggested that Immigration Officers were being bribed to release foreign nationals. But Symonette told media outside of Cabinet on Tuesday morning that the allegations could not be proven.

“The report they sent does not substantiate in writing to me any proof or allegations of battery,” he said.

“We have the case with the Americans which the FBI are looking at and that’s a concrete case, [but] I cannot take you to court without proof of bribery.”

He added that if there are persons who have information regarding any alleged bribery of Immigration Officers, it should be reported immediately.

“Call me up. My phone number is in the book, my cell number is 359-2445,” Symonette said.

“If there is proof, for God’s sake, bring it to me. I’d like to prosecute someone all the way to Fox Hill, but we can’t act on rumors.”

In the meantime, the minister said that a corruption unit has been created to investigate the concerns of Immigration Director Clarence Russell, which he hopes will prove to be successful in uncovering any alleged corruption, including the bribery of Immigration Officers.