VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A lawyer from Delta and an interpreter from Vancouver have been charged with making bogus refugee claims following an eight-year investigation.
The Canada Border Services Agency announced Thursday the results of an investigation into fraudulent refugee claims made by Roger Bhatti, 61, of Delta, and Sofiane Dahak, 52, of Vancouver.
According to Border Services, the pair colluded with foreign nationals to misrepresent claims for refugee protection before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada between February 2002 and March 2014.
Investigation began in 2012
Border Services officials began investigating Bhatti and Dahak in 2012 and executed search warrants on June 4, 2014.
Most of the refugee claimants were found not to be typical refugees and were removed from Canada, according to CBSA.
“Canada’s refugee system assists people who are forced to flee their countries because of a well-founded fear of persecution. Trying to ‘game the system’ by falsification and misrepresentation of information is not only illegal, but delays the processing of genuine refugees in need of protection,” says Nina Patel, with CBSA.
“This is a serious issue and the CBSA is committed to holding offenders accountable.”
Breakdown of charges
Bhatti is charged under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act with:
- eight counts of misrepresenting material facts in relation to refugee claims;
- counselling misrepresentation of material facts in relation to refugee claims;
- four counts of forgery;
- seven counts of use of a forged document.
Dahak is charged with:
- seven counts of misrepresenting material facts in relation to refugee claims;
- counselling misrepresentation of material facts in relation to refugee claims.
Both are scheduled to appear in Surrey Provincial Court on Oct. 6.