By the time the Supreme Court dismissed Mohammed Rizwan’s Judicial Review this week, the Prohibited Immigrant (PI) already fled through the international borders to Papua New Guinea.
Minister of Internal Affairs Andrew Napuat has confirmed the suspension of two Immigration officers who allegedly removed Rizwan’s name in the PI list in the system that helped eased his escape to Daily Post.
He confirmed that a case is likely to be taken against these two suspended officers.
Minister Napuat said that this case is very critical and he was very disappointed to see some Vanuatu people who assisted a culprit like Rizwan avoid deportation.
He said it was his view and interpretation all along that his decision to deport Rizwan in Vanuatu was legal.
The minister said that was the reason he came out on media for more than once requesting the cooperation of every citizen, law enforcement officers, officials and everybody including and lawyers to assist him of our country’s interest.
He said it seems the lawyers did not support the course.
“A simple thing they needed to do was to refuse to take the culprit's case because of the proven facts that he is a criminal,” he said.
He said Rizwan must have been given some legal advice to flee the country but at the time he has already been placed on PI list, he shouldn't have fled without the approval of the Director of Immigration, Jeffery Markson.
“Rizwan has now left the country, we are investigating how he fled and who assisted him to remove his name on the list because the director was not even aware,” he said.
“He was informed after Rizwan already departed for PNG and as a result, two officers of immigration have now been suspended because we believe they have assisted Rizwan to run away.
“We will file a complaint in support of the Director's suspension of the two officers and the officers will give an explanation why they let the suspect ran away without informing the Director and why nobody consulted the him whether or not to remove Rizwan from the Prohibited Imigrant list prior to his fleeing”.
Mr Napuat said that under the Immigration Act, only the director has the power to place people and to remove them from from that list.
He said that an officer illegally used the powers of the director to remove Rizwan from the list without consulting the authorities that makes this case very serious and it has also shown the level of corruption by officials who have continued to let them being bribed.
Minister Napuat told Daily Post that he will not stop fighting for this nation and he will not stop fighting untill the end.
He said that it is good to check the conduct and ethics of Vanuatu lawyers, they shouldn't be thinking of money.
He said that don’t have to keep foreign criminals but we must fight to protect our nation, our people our jobs, our sovereignty he has that as his priority in his ministry.
Meanwhile, this week Justice Andree Wiltens ruled out Rizwan's Judicial Review based on sufficient evidences that proves that Rizwan has always been a wanted man in Fiji during his stay in Vanuatu.
He proved that Minister Napuat was legally acting on his power vested to him in section 53 (A) of the Immigration Act to remove Rizwan as a wanted man in Fiji and did not need any notice of removal.
He said that Mr Loughman’s submission proceeded on the incorrect basis that the Minister formed his opinion through an Email on May 28, 2018 to the Police Commissioner Albert Nalpini.
He said that Mr Nalpini confirmed to the Minister that he has been to Fiji and was advised that Rizwan was in Fiji’s wanted list.
He said that the approach of the minister to remove Rizwan out of the country was legal, rational, procedurally correct and supported by documentary exhibits.
“The Minister’s view was that prior to the Minister’s intentions was being leaked by officials in State Law Office and by politicians and he was concerned that Rizwan might prior to its execution, depart Vanuatu for somewhere other than Fiji, if warned the removal order,” he said.
“In circumstances, the Minister’s decision was fully justified and cannot be criticized.
“The grounds for seeking Judicial Review have not been made out, the application is accordingly dismissed”.
Justice Wiltens ordered a conference on August 30 to see if Rizwan still wants to pursue the matter but he had already left.
Rizwan arrived in Vanuatu and was appointed by Justice Minister Ronald Warsal on May 23, 2017 as the secretary of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to the alleged misappropriation of the European Development Fund.