In April 2018 the Ombudsman Commission’s Final Report on its investigations into the alleged improper and unlawful issuance of entry permits, granting of citizenship by naturalization and issuance of Papua New Guinea passports to Joko Tjandra alias Joe Chan by the Papua New Guinea Immigration and Citizenship Services Authority was tabled in Parliament.
After perusing its records, the Commission noted that many of the recommendations may not have been implemented hence it has written to the Chief Migrations Officer enclosing a copy of its Final Report to consider any actions should there be any recommendations that are outstanding.
According to the findings in the Final Report, there were breaches highlighted in the issuance of Entry permits, including Long Term (permanent residency), and granting of citizenship by naturalization to Mr Joko Tjandra alias Joe Chan by the PNG ICSA, the CAC and the then Foreign Minister.
Some of the findings include:
- The improper issuing of two APEC Business Travel Card Permits to Mr Tjandra in February and June 2009;
- The improper and unlawful approval and issuing of Permanent Resident Permit to Mr Tjandra;
- The Misapplication of power by the then Foreign Minister Hon. Ano Pala in exercising his discretionary powers under Section 20 of the Migration Act to exempt Mr Tjandra from Permanent Residency requirements;
- The improper and unlawful conduct by Mr Pala in granting Citizenship by naturalization to Mr Tjandra;
- The improper and unlawful issuing of the PNG Passport to Mr Tjandra by the Chief Migration Officer Mataio Rabura and the Immigration Officers;
- The Improper and unlawful issuing of PNG passport to Mr Joe Chan by Chief Migration Officer Rabura and Immigration officers.
The Commission has given eight recommendations in the final report specifically for PNG ICSA to implement and they are recommendations 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11 and 12.
The Ombudsman Commission’s investigations also highlighted the lack of compliance with our laws and how systems can be exploited to gain entry into the country fraudulently.
Recommendation No.3 is for the Minister responsible for Citizenship and Immigration to amend Section 20 of the Migration Act as it seems ineffective and subject to potential abuse.
Recommendation 7 is for the Minister responsible for Citizenship and Foreign Affairs to commence the process to revoke the citizenship status of Mr Tjandra, and Recommendation 11 is for Mr Joe Chan’s PNG passport to be cancelled.
The rest of the other recommendations are for the PNG ICSA and the Foreign and Immigration Minister to tighten up their processes to ensure there is strict adherence to the Rules and Regulations regarding citizenship and issuance of Entry Permits and that includes setting up effective communication and engagement mechanism with PNG Customs to work together to address Persons of Interests and combating Transnational Crimes.
The Ombudsman Commission is committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in all government agencies and will continue to monitor the progress of this matter.