Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News/Clifton Skelton
An investigation was launched into what appears to have been the intention of a contractor to bribe a Visa Officer, who immediately reported it to senior officials.
The Civil Registry and Passport Office in its 2011 Annual Report to the House of Assembly stated that on May 26, 2011, a Dominican Republic (DR) national who is a contractor and resides in the Virgin Islands, approached the Visa Officer outside the office to obtain an employment visa for a prospective employee.
"Before leaving he gave her a white envelope that later revealed the contents which was $500.00 in cash. The Visa Officer reported the matter to the Senior Administrative Officer (SAO) and counted the cash in her presence," the report stated.
According to the office, on the following day, the applicant was asked to visit the office where he was met by both the SAO and the Visa Officer. He was asked about the contents in the envelope given to the officer and his response was that it was $500.00 cash.
The officer then told him that she had noticed two envelopes in his hand the day prior and wondered whether he had erroneously given her the wrong envelope.
"He responded that it was the correct envelope and it was given out of appreciation. He was told that it was against Government's policies to accept any form of gifts for services provided and the funds were returned to him in the presence of the Senior Administrative Officer and a Clerical Officer," the report stated.
The office stated that the contractor became very apologetic and stated that he wanted to purchase a gift and didn't know what to buy, so he decided to present the cash to show his appreciation for their assistance a few months prior with employment visas for his employees.
The report stated that the contractor further mentioned that he had done this on many occasions with someone at the Labour Department and did not know it was illegal to do so.
"He was told to show his appreciation by writing a letter of commendation. After the matter was discussed with the Registrar General, the Visa Officer was advised not to take any more applications from that contractor until further notice. The incident was referred to the Permanent Secretary, Deputy Governor's Office, for further investigations," the 2011 report stated.