PNG Immigration Officials Face Bribery Allegations

PNG immigration officials face bribery allegations

By PNG correspondent Steve Marshall
Posted Wed Oct 8, 2008 9:17am AEDT

Papua New Guinea's intelligence organisation is investigating a possible visa racket that links senior immigration officials to immigrants who are trying to get to Australia illegally.

Papua New Guinea Intelligence officers say they are supposed to screen people entering PNG from 'high risk' countries like Pakistan, China and the Middle East.

However officers are concerned about the number of people they have picked up who have not been properly vetted.

An intelligence insider told ABC immigrants are paying agents who in turn bribe immigration officials to secure visas.

He said immigrants are paying more than $5,000 for a PNG visa in the hope of eventually reaching Australia.

Recently 13 Sri Lankan men were sent home who officials said were using PNG as a springboard to cross the Torres Strait.

The Australian Federal Police is increasing its presence in Papua New Guinea but would not discuss operational matters.