Family business: George Bogiri awards himself immigration visa contract worth vt200,000,000+ per year

Director General of the Ministry of Internal Affairs George Bogiri has just awarded himself a highly lucrative but almost unpublicised contract to take over the processing of Vanuatu’s immigration visas. An advertisement appeared in the Daily Post last week (see below) announcing the change. The contract is expected to earn a company owned by George Bogiri more than Vt 200 million per year.

Advertisement in Vanuatu Daily Post announcing new visa application process, 12 January 2013

According to the advert, a new “person” will handle all visa applications; a Gmail address and a digicel mobile phone number is given. No company name is listed, nor is the name of this “person”. A bit of digging has revealed that the name of the company given this contract is Pacific Migration Consultants, registered at VFSC in the name of George Bogiri. His daughter Rebekah Bogiri, recently returned from studying in China, is running the business. The Department of Immigration ceased directly accepting visa applications on Thursday last week.

An anonymous business source says, “we have met with Rebekah the ‘Agent’. It was clearly evident that she did not understand the Immigration process, couldn’t answer our queries and in most instances said that we should forward our queries to her Dad or to François Batick.” Our source says that Rebekah told them that this new arrangement was put in place by her father and the Principal Immigration Officer François Batick as a “matter of National Security”. DG Bogiri is already quite cosy with Immigration staff, as other posts on this blog have revealed.

George Bogiri was reappointed as DG on December 3, 2012 by Prime Minister Sato Kilman. “When you signed the contract you accepted to work with the government, you do not accept to serve your own interest, [or] your family… you agree to serve the people and the Nation,” PM Kilman told the DGs at their reappointment ceremony, reported Daily Post at the time.

The Immigration Act does allow for Vanuatu’s Principal Immigration Officer (PIO) to appoint an agent to process visas; however, this contract has never been put out to public tender, as is legally required for all Government contracts over Vt5 million.

The Department of Immigration comes under the direct control of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, making this both a massive conflict of interest and blatant act of corruption by DG Bogiri. According to the 2009 national census, there are about 3,000 foreign nationals residing in Vanuatu, and the “Agent Service Fee” that Pacific Migration Consultants charges just to collate visa applications for processing by Govt is vt50,000, as Daily Post reported earlier this week. Just for processing 3,000 residence visas, Pacific Migration Consultants is likely to earn vt150 million in one year alone. And this is without taking into consideration the many thousands of visitor visas as well as other visas of other classes that are given out every year.

A visitor visa, previously vt3,375, is now vt3,600, plus Pacific Migration Consultants’ “service fee” of vt25,000, a 747% cost increase. This is likely to have a negative effect on tourist arrivals into Vanuatu. All of Pacific Migration Consultants’ fees are listed in the document below.

Pacific Migration Consultants Vanuatu visa application service fees schedule

(Click on image above to download full PDF version)

Department of Immigration staff, like the general public, have not been adequately informed of this new system. No advance notice appears to have been given to the general public, nor to anyone in Government. Our sources claim that VIPA and the Prime Minister’s Office were also not informed about this new arrangement and are said to be furious. Quite aside from the explicit corruption, it is yet another impediment to foreign investment in Vanuatu, and a massive impost for foreign spouses of ni-Vanuatu citizens.

Another source says that George Bogiri prepared the above newspaper advertisement, had Batick sign it, then delivered it personally to the Daily Post office, where he paid for it as well.

About these ads

11 Comments on “Family business: George Bogiri awards himself immigration visa contract worth vt200,000,000+ per year”

  1. Samson says:

    me harem se some private firm in town will be on the spotlight

  2. Junior says:

    Bold Corruption…..Public Service should deal with this case ASAP!

    • PM Kilman removed Directors General from the control of the Public Service Commission when he made their jobs political appointments in December 2012. Kilman has shown that he doesn’t care at all what his appointees do. With no accountability, what incentive is there to act ethically?

  3. thomas balango says:

    Concerned Citizen
    Sometimes we think we can run this country ourselves, especially if we’ve been in government too long. Get rid of corrupt people like this one who forget that they are in their respective positions for the interest to & for the people of Vanuatu.

  4. Bryan says:

    This is an outrageous story and the VCCI will be tabling this for discussion and immediate action and will take the issue up with the PM if necessary.
    In a country so dependent on the tourism and services sectors is is appalling the at such a negative an corrupt action can be contemplated by the PIO.

    • Bryan, both Bogiri and the PIO should carry the blame for this, not just the PIO. We have always found Bogiri to be of high calibre – that a man of his stature seems to think that such blatant corruption is OK is a telling indicator of just low Vanuatu has sunk with the present Government. Bad for business, and even worse for society as a whole.

  5. Nelson says:

    A demonstration to the PMs office is immediately required. This must be stopped.

  6. Gordon says:

    Situation normal and just another day’s corrupt activity in “paradise”.

  7. The Watcher says:

    Reblogged this on The Watcher and commented:
    INAF! INAF! INAF! This cannot be allowed to happen …..

    • OMG says:

      It is already happening! Question is, will anything be done to stop this before every expat and tourist decides enough is enough?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,472 other followers