Woman Stranded In Kenya Doesn’t Deserve One Cent

Woman stranded in Kenya doesn't deserve one cent

By Licia Corbella
Calgary Herald
October 2, 2009

Earlier this summer, just hours after returning from a vacation, my husband logged onto our computer and noticed that $10,000 had been transferred out of our line of credit without our knowledge.

He called the bank we deal with and ultimately we learned that someone pretending to be me, but calling from Montreal, phoned the national bank line and had some agent transfer our money into two credit cards not owned by us.

Upon further examination, the fraud investigator for the bank admitted that the person pretending to be me not only didn't have our access code number or my personal identification number, but also got my place of work wrong (though anyone reading this knows the answer) and didn't know how much money I make. Yet, the bank employee gave her our money anyway! We were incredulous and I felt completely violated.

The fraud investigator pointed out that the fraudster knew my birthdate, like that justified everything. In the age of Facebook, surely birthdates should no longer be used as a skill testing question. Too easy. Too available. He agreed.

Which brings us to the case of Suaad Hagi Mohamud, the woman suing the Canadian government for $2.6 million for deeming her an imposter, voiding her Canadian passport and stranding her in Kenya this spring.

In documents filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice earlier this week in connection with Mohamud's multimillion lawsuit, it appears that Canadian consular officials had dozens of reasons to be suspicious of the 31-year-old woman.

Paul Jamieson, a migrant integrity officer then stationed in Kenya, states in an affidavit that he found Mohamud “vague and evasive” during his three interviews with her over five days in May. Vague and evasive is putting it mildly. Documents state that the person being interviewed could not give any details about how or where she obtained her Ontario driver's licence.

She didn't know that Toronto was on the shore of Lake Ontario, couldn't name even one stop on the TTC (her main mode of transportation for 10 years in Toronto) and she called the Toronto Transit Commission the TTS.

She also couldn't name Toronto's mayor or the current or past prime minister. That kind of ignorance, as discouraging as it is, is nevertheless possible, but what she didn't know about herself gets much more suspicious.

Mohamud didn't know that the acronym for ATS, where she had worked for some time, stood for Andlauer Transportation Services and she couldn't explain what it was she did for her employer.

Jamieson also found that Mohamud was “six to seven centimetres shorter” than displayed on her driver's licence. The incredible shrinking woman! No wonder he assumed he was interviewing Mohamud's younger sister, who was named in her immigration papers, but who Mohamud now claims doesn't exist.

But for all of us moms out there, this next bit of info is the most telling. Mohamud got her 12-year-old son's birthdate wrong and didn't know where he was born or any circumstances surrounding his birth.

This is not some drug-addicted ignoramus. We all watched her poised news conference where she announced that she would sue the Canadian government.

No mother anywhere doesn't know where her children were born or the circumstances of their births. Heck, get us started and we can talk about the labour of each child, in great detail, for hours, if prodded.

Whoever Jamieson was interviewing, it clearly couldn't have been Mohamud. If it was her and she really is that ignorant, why on Earth did Canada grant her immigrant status and then citizenship in the first place? There are far better wannabe immigrants waiting to make a life in Canada.

So, it looks like all of that righteous indignation levelled against Canadian consular officials and the federal government was possibly premature and misplaced.

Mohamud's lawsuit against the government starts on Oct. 6.

A reader called and said, “I don't care if fighting this case costs the feds more than the $2.6 million this woman is seeking from taxpayers. Frankly, I don't care if the feds spend $260 million fighting this case. I don't want one cent of my tax dollars going to this woman or her lawyer. In fact, the government should seek damages from her.”

I think many, if not most Canadians, would agree.

DNA testing eventually proved the person who was tested in Kenya and who was allowed back into Canada, was indeed Mohamud and the 12-year-old's mother.

What happened in between doesn't have a logical explanation, except that someone is lying or was trying to scam the system.

If my husband and I and then our bank agreed that it was an outrageous breach for our money to be given away over the phone to someone possessing some wrong information, then surely it would have been an even more outrageous breach to let whoever Jamieson was interviewing to use that Canadian passport in such a way.

In the end, someone should give Jamieson, who is now at a diplomatic post in South Africa, a hefty raise and a bonus. If more people had his smarts, identity theft would not be the world's fastest growing crime.