THE Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on Thursday announced the results of an investigation into fraudulent refugee claims made by certain foreign nationals originating from Central Europe. The CBSA Criminal Investigations Section alleges that Roger Bhatti, 61, of Delta and Sofiane Dahak, 52, of Vancouver colluded with the foreign nationals to misrepresent the foreign nationals’ claims for refugee protection before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).
Bhatti is charged on the following counts:
* misrepresenting material facts in relation to refugee claims (eight counts);
* counselling misrepresentation of material facts in relation to refugee claims;
* forgery; and
* use of a forged document (seven counts)
Dahak is charged on the following counts:
* misrepresenting material facts in relation to refugee claims (seven counts; and
* counselling misrepresentation of material facts in relation to refugee claims
The CBSA alleges these offences were committed between February 2002 and March 2014 while Bhatti practised as a lawyer and Dahak acted as an interpreter. The CBSA began investigating their activities in 2012 and executed search warrants on June 4, 2014, thereafter reviewing evidence connected to a number of refugee claims. Most of the refugee claimants were found not to be convention refugees and were removed from Canada.
Both of the accused are scheduled to appear in Surrey Provincial Court on October 6.
Nina Patel, Regional Director General for the Pacific Region, CBSA, said: “Canada’s refugee system assists people who are forced to flee their countries because of a well-founded fear of persecution. Trying to ‘game the system’ by falsification and misrepresentation of information is not only illegal, but delays the processing of genuine refugees in need of protection. This is a serious issue and the CBSA is committed to holding offenders accountable.”
* The CBSA is responsible for enforcing the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and investigates and prosecutes cases where there is evidence of violations.
* Members of the public are encouraged to report suspicious immigration activities to the CBSA by calling 1-888-502-9060.