Concern over citizenship agent approval – Campaign for Justice
Vanuatu’s Campaign for Justice (C4J) has raised concern over the Government’s authorization of the Blue Mirror Limited company, as a designated citizenship and permanent residency sales agent for the country’s Development Support Program.
Senior Investigator for the Campaign for Justice, Willie Alick Pakoa, says the Government’s decision to authorize Blue Mirror Limited as a citizenship sales agent should be reconsidered because of previous allegations raised against the company.
He says an investigation that C4J undertook in 2019, found the Blue Mirror Limited company was acting as an agent to sell Vanuatu citizenships and passports while only registered as a real estate agent.
“The reason we carried out the investigation into Blue Mirror Limited was to uncover the puzzle and questions surrounding the sale of passports because many of the Chinese from mainland China who had obtained Vanuatu passports were Blue Mirror Limited clients,” Mr Pakoa said.
He says the C4J investigation found that Blue Mirror Limited was registered as a company under two directors who were Ni Vanuatu from Eratap Village on Efate.
Mr Pakoa says one of the directors was associated with a ‘ethnic Chinese’ woman who acted as his assistant to manage Blue Mirror Limited.
He says the Chinese woman was the wife of a ‘ethnic Chinese’ man named Feng Peng who is the owner of the Feng Peng Fei company that owns the Vila Times newspaper.
Mr Pakoa says the investigations raised questions about the role of the Chinese people associated with Blue Mirror and the issue of the sales of Vanuatu passports.
Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Internal Affairs, Alatoi Ishmael Kalsakau, says the Government understands the concerns raised by Campaign for Justice.
But Minister Kalsakau says before any citizenship or permanent residency is granted to any individual, the person that is applying is investigated by the Immigration Department and the Financial Intelligence Unit before they are issued with a passport or Vanuatu citizenship.
“The Government has a good system in place that means a thorough check of everyone applying is carried out. There is a national law that requires that and we have passed many laws that govern the sale of Vanuatu passports and citizenship,” Minister Kalsakau said.
“We are also required to make good checks of the people who will be doing business with us.”
VBTC approached the Blue Mirror Limited company for comment but did not receive a response.
The Department of Immigration says Blue Mirror is just one of eight companies who are authorised agents for the sale of Vanuatu citizenships and passports.
The department says in the case of Blue Mirror Limited, an Immigration Department team investigated the C4J allegations but found no evidence of wrong doing.