passport scam

Man charged in Tongan passport scam

Members of the Tonga Police Passport Taskforce and Tonga CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) executed three search warrants and arrested the suspect who allegedly obtained two passports using forged documents.

The accused has been charged with 2 counts of knowingly dealing with forged documents.

He has been released on bail and he will reappear in court on 16 October 2017.

This is the second case where the Ministry of Justice system was misused to create false birth certificates.

Five years jail for Tongan passport scammer

The 50-year-old from Kolofo'ou was charged with offences including false declaration, forgery, knowingly dealing with forged documents and bribery.

The last 12 months of his jail sentence has been suspended.

RNZI reports the case involved collusion with government workers and others to forge documents in support of an application for a Tongan passport for a foreign national.

A passport taskforce was set up nearly two years ago and has made 32 arrests over passport scams.

Thirteen people have pleaded guilty and 19 are awaiting trial.

War of words in Tonga parliament over passport scam

In his recent visit to New Zealand, the prime minister 'Akilisi Pohiva was asked to ensure that all falsely-issued diplomatic passports were cancelled, so to avoid international breaches of security.

The PM admitted there was a problem, but told parliament he didn't know what to do about it.

He also said the passport holders may have trafficked millions of dollars worth of drugs into New Zealand.

Matangi Tonga reports that he was taken to task by Lord Tu'ilakepa, who told the PM he was also foreign minister and in charge of that portfolio.

Arrest and charges in relation to passport investigation

A 63 year old Tongan woman, a former Police Officer was arrested following the police search warrant on Wednesday. She has been charged with one count of perjury contrary to section 63 of the Criminal Offences Act.

The accused was released on bail on 28 January 2016 and will appear at the Magistrate’s Court on Monday 1 February 2016.

Deputy Police Commissioner Viliami ‘Unga Fa’aoa confirmed that 12 accused persons have been charged so far in relation to the passport investigation and are now pending trial in courts.

FBI probes US-Tongan company involving alleged immigration scam, Tongan victims speak out

No arrest has been made although FBI has seized computers and documents from the company’s office in Sacramento, California.

The company claimed it has agents in the South Pacific including Tonga and Fiji.