First secretary in Canberra Nazma called back

Staff Correspondent

20 January, 2019 12:00 AM printer

First Secretary at Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra, Australia Nazma Akhter was called back on Thursday.

The foreign ministry is yet to clear the reason for her withdrawal from Canberra till Saturday, but some officials at the ministry said Nazma was withdrawn as her tenure in Australia has already expired.

However, diplomatic sources in Australia said the first secretary was withdrawn for her alleged involvement in issuing fake visas to some Rohingyas to visit their families in Bangladesh.

It may be noted that Australian police are investigating the alleged involvement of the Bangladesh official in Canberra in issuing fake tourist visas to a group of Rohingyas living in Australia.

The police investigation is underway amid claims by victims that the Bangladesh High Commission employee was linked to the issuance

of visas, reported Australian media outlet SBS.

At least 20 Rohingyas living in Australia were recently detained at Dhaka international airport and deported on suspicion of invalid visas for Bangladesh obtained in Australia.

They came to Bangladesh to visit their families living in different places, including Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar. But Bangladesh Immigration Police interrogated the Rohingya detainees and sent them back to Australia on December 20, 2018. 

During questioning, they told authorities that they had collected their visas from an employee at the Bangladesh High Commission in Canberra.

After the report published, many from the Rohingya community have since come forward with their experience of being issued fake visas.

Bangladesh High Commissioner to Australia Mohammad Sufiur Rahman said they have allegations, but are yet to receive a detailed report from the relevant Bangladesh authorities on the issue, the SBS reported. 

Salahuddin Noman Chowdhury, director general (admin) of the foreign ministry, told media that first secretary Nazma was withdrawn from Canberra on Thursday.

As asked whether the first secretary was withdrawn over fake visa allegation, the director general said she has been withdrawn to the headquarters as her tenure in Australia has already expired.

Mahbub-Uz-Zaman, secretary (Asia and Pacific) of the ministry, said, “I don’t deal with the matter, you may talk to officials of consular wing of the ministry.”

Kamrul Ahsan, secretary (consular) of the ministry, said he knows nothing about the matter, but it is related to the administration wing.