Australian police are investigating the alleged involvement of a Bangladesh High Commission official in Canberra in issuing fake tourist visas to a group of Rohingyas living in Australia, Australian media outlet SBS reported on Thursday.
The investigation is underway amid claims by the victims that the Bangladesh High Commission employee was linked to the issuance of the visas, the report said.At least 20 Rohingyas from Australia have recently been detained at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka and deported on suspicion of obtaining invalid Bangladesh visas.
They came to Bangladesh to visit their families living in Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camps and other places in the country.
But, the Bangladesh Immigration Police interrogated the Rohingya detainees and sent them back to Australia on December 20 last.
During questioning, they told authorities that they collected their visas from an employee at the Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra.
After the report published, many from the Rohingya community have come forward with their experience of being issued fake visas.The SBS report mentioned that at the end of December 2018, at least six Rohingya refugees made a formal complaint to Woden police station in Canberra over the issue.
They said police noted their complaints and gave them an event number, while Australian Federal Police (AFP) confirmed their claim.
The AFP said they have received complaints about ‘an alleged fraud concerning the issuing of travel visas’. Investigations are continuing.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to Australia Mohammad Sufiur Rahman confirmed that AFP is aware of the issue. “The AFP made a query to know whether the visas are genuine or not involving those who were sent back to Australia from Dhaka Airport,” he told SBS.
In a written statement in response to the allegations, the Bangladesh high commissioner acknowledged that the High Commission had received travel documents with ‘fake handwritten visas’ on them over the past two weeks from some Rohingya refugees from Australia’.
“While we have allegations, we cannot conclusively establish involvement of any of our staff members, though we have received names of some agents/handlers perhaps from Sydney and Melbourne,” he added.
The high commissioner said they are yet to receive a detailed report from the relevant Bangladesh authorities on such document holders’ travel to Bangladesh and authorities’ findings that led to deportation of some of those Rohingyas.