"Immigration corrupt”  - Solomon Star News

"Immigration corrupt” 

28 January 2019
Richard Mana

Former officer cries foul

In Gizo

A former immigration officer claims he had witnessed so much corruption in the government system during his time.

Richard Mana, 41, now resides in Gizo, Western Province, and runs his own small business.

He told the Solomon Star between 2009 and 2011, three Asian girls were deported after they were caught engaging in an underground prostitution ring.

“These girls were brought in by those running the ring and entered the country on tourist visas,” Mana said.

He said the girls were then used to serve customers of the prostitution ring, which operates from a well-known commercial establishment in town.

“There were locals involved in the organisation to bring the girls over.

“They are those in authority who I believe were paid to assist organisers of the ring.”

He also claimed a lot of foreigners have overstayed their visas.

Mana said in cases like this, they should be fined but due to leniency from authorities, the country loses much needed revenue.

He said he was also aware of top public officers who accepted gifts of cars from foreign business people in return for their favours when it comes to matters like visas and licences.

Mana said as a junior officer, they were left at the mercy of their bosses, who dictated decisions on issues from the top.

He stated government officers are easy prey because they worked for very small salaries so it is easy for them to be manipulated. 

He further claimed that junior officers knew what the bosses are doing but they were powerless to do anything.

“An example is the issuing of work permits to foreigners just within days after arrival.

“Some of these foreigners, especially those working in the logging industry, should not be issued with work permits because they are not qualified.

“Yet they were given work permits to go and drive log trucks, operate chainsaws, and do other jobs that could be easily filled locally.

“That’s the kind of corruption going on within our system,” Mana said.

He added certain top officials also used their position to manipulate the administration of Company Haus, using foreign investors’ interests as opportunity to fatten their wallets.

Mana claimed he decided to leave his job after seeing things were not done right.