Australian Federal Police Investigating Corrupt Bangladesh High Commission Officials for Issuing Fake Passports to Rohingya Refugees

Bangladeshi High Commission in Canberra phased out manually filled in visas (left) in February 2018, replaced by machine-readable visas (right). photo by SBS News

Several members of Australia’s Rohingya community have filed complaints with police after obtaining tourist visas which Bangladesh authorities suspect to be fake.

It is alleged that an employee at the Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra is linked to the issuing of the visas, SBS Bangla has reported.

At least 20 refugees were detained at Dhaka airport in Bangladesh last month after travelling from Australia to visit their families – some of whom are living in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps. They were told their documents were invalid and sent back to Australia.

Several of the group said they received their visas after being told by other members of the community that an employee at the Bangladesh High Commission could assist with the issuing of the visas. They were told to send their travel documents and payment of up to $350 to the employee’s home address.

SBS Bangla news reported that Rohingya refugees are living in Australia who were recently detained at Dhaka international airport and deported on suspicion of invalid visas.

Bangladesh Immigration Police interrogated Faruk and the other passengers and sent them back to Australia on 20th December 2018.  During questioning they told authorities that they had collected their visas from an employee at the Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra.

One of the refugees named Faruk claims he was told to send his travel documents by express post to unnamed Employee of high commission home address.

“I got this visa from Employee A, of the Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra and I paid cash,” he told SBS Bangla back in Sydney. 

“To get the visa I sent my travel document and dollars along with return envelope to Employee A’s home address.”

SBS Bangla has confirmed through Australia Post that the envelope was signed for by a person with the same name as Employee A. 

Bangladesh High Commissioner Sufiur Rahman said they were waiting on a report from Bangladesh authorities and “cannot conclusively establish involvement of any of our staff”

The Australian Federal Police is investigating.

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