Another “hotbed” of corruption at SSB?

By Marion Ali
Assistant Editor

Two separate investigations are ongoing – one by the police and the other by the Belize Social Security Board (SSB) – to determine whether a fake nationality certificate discovered last week could have more disturbing roots, involving personnel from the SSB.

The forged nationality document was discovered last week when Chinese businessman, Yuanran Zheng, was caught with the certificate. Zheng Hui Lin, a Taiwanese-Belizean translator, was along with Zheng. Zheng left Belize on Friday, but Lin was allowed to return to his residence in Camalote after he pleaded guilty to uttering upon a forged document and trying to use that document.

The police were quickly called in to the SSB and preliminary investigations have reportedly led to the discovery of three more forged certificates, which the head office in Belmopan is looking into. A number of immigration and SSB employees, one of whom is an SSB manager, are now on administrative leave pending the outcome of the SSB internal investigation.

The discovery has led authorities to take a closer look at the system used to produce nationality certificates, since it is suspected that several more of these older type documents, which date to the defunct Economic Citizenship Program of the 90’s, could likely be circulating in Belize.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Joseph Myvett said Thursday that the investigation is ongoing and while he couldn’t say much about it, so far it is not showing that a ring exists, contrary to other reports. He said that whatever evidence is found will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for a directive on the matter.

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