Honduran Immigration Chief Suspended

April 29, 2005

TEGUCIGALPA (EFE) – The governmentof Honduras has suspended itsImmigration chief, Ramon Romero, whileit completes an investigation into the illegalissuance of passports, according toofficial sources.“Romero was relieved of his dutiesFriday night to allow the investigation toproceed with the greatest objectivity andtransparency possible,” reported theMinistry of the Interior and Justice.“This procedure in no way prejudgesthe role of said official in the actionsrecently reported at that governmentdepartment,” it added.LAST Wednesday, Justice officialstook over the offices of the ImmigrationDepartment to investigate allegations thatpassports and naturalization certificateswere being illegally issued to Chinese,Lebanese and South American citizens.The foreigners reportedly had plannedto use the documents to enter Hondurasand from there travel to the United States,according to State Prosecutor DorisAguilar.The chief of foreigners’ affairs in theImmigration Department, JulioHernández, has been under arrest sinceinvestigators discovered $14,962 in hisdesk drawer for which he could notaccount.A Justice Ministry official saidHernández is being charged with theft,bribery, abuse of authority, malfeasance inoffice and conspiracy to smuggle immigrants.

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