Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It was a clerical error, M'Lud

Also in today's GDN, another court case to make you laugh...
Forger 'made clerical error'

A government employee accused of forging visa applications could have issued the visas due to a clerical error, a defence lawyer argued yesterday.

The Bahraini woman is standing trial at the High Criminal Court for forging visa applications and accepting bribes.

Her co-defendant, an Indian man who pleaded not guilty, is accused of bribery.

The woman, who works for the General Directorate for Nationality, Passports and Residence, allegedly accepted BD200 to forge information on several visa applications.

She issued visitor's visas to several people from different nationalities and accepted BD200 for each visa, it is alleged.

Defence lawyer Fatima Al Hawaj argued that the issuance of the visas could have been a result of a clerical error, claiming the information entered could have been a mistake.

She cross examined four witnesses at yesterday's hearing and later claimed their statements were contradictory.

The investigating officer claimed the woman issued 41 visas to several people and put them under the sponsorship of different family members.

"Our sources received information that the woman was issuing illegal visas and accepted BD200 for each visa," he told the court.

"She forged the information on the visas and didn't get approval from her senior supervisors.

"We confiscated 41 visas that she issued to different people which she put under the sponsorship of different family members."

A government employee, who works with the defendant, claimed she forged two visa applications while another witness told the court that the defendant forged 20 visa applications.

She admitted to the charges during interrogation, but later changed her statements and pleaded not guilty. The court adjourned the case to March 25 to summon further witnesses for cross-examination.

Yeah right. A clerical error... she accidentally pocketed BD200 from each applicant for a forged visit visa. I guess you have to have a good sense of humour to be a defence lawyer. The sad thing is that often people have to resort to bribes, because that's the only way to get things done when the law/bureaucracy stops you from doing the sensible thing.

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