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Response by John E. Fuller to request OF THE U.S. House of Representatives’ subcommittee oN immigration, border security and claims for testimony AT THE OVERSIGHT HEARING ON "John Allen Muhammad and THE Western Hemisphere passport exception."

 

Together with three other persons (Ralph Francis, Attorney, Cosmos Marcelle, retired Assistant Commissioner of Police and the Reverend Arnold Francis, Catholic Priest) I was on the 28th day of October 2002 requested by the Attorney General of Antigua and Barbuda to conduct an investigation into the activities of John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo during their presence in Antigua and Barbuda.  On the 31st day of October 2002 we issued the attached Interim Report and on the 31st day of December 2002 we issued the attached Final Report.

 

Insofar as the findings in these two latter reports relate to the subcommittee's oversight hearing the documents speak for themselves.

 

On the issue of Mohammad's document fraud activities in Antigua the following is a summary of facts as we found them:

 

Mohammad first arrived in Antigua on the 20th day of March 2000.  He was accompanied by his three minor children.  We were satisfied that he came to Antigua effectively to remove his minor children from the jurisdiction of the Courts of the USA.  He did not have lawful custody of his children.

 

He stayed with an Antiguan family for a few weeks but was asked to leave as the family suspected that he had "kidnapped" his children.

 

Upon his departure from the latter residence he seems to have inadvertently left in that house a few "blank" birth certificates ostensibly from a state in the United States (copies of certificates to be produced).  We concluded therefore that he came to Antigua equipped with documents intended to be used in creating false identities- most likely for his children.

 

His second residence in Antigua was with a Jamaican family and through them he became acquainted with many Jamaican nationals living in Antigua.  It became apparent that there was (and no doubt still is) a rich market among Jamaican nationals for travel documents facilitating entry into the USA.

 

Not withstanding the fact that Mohammad seems to have barely literate, between April 2000 and March 2001 he systematically engaged in the production and sale of U.S. driving licenses with photographs and corresponding birth certificates.  He was aided and abetted in this activity by an individual who was (and is) extremely computer literate.  The production of these documents does not seem to have been extremely difficult or requiring high skills.  Two examples of his handiwork are now produced.  All that seems to be required are:

  1. A computer and scanner.
  2. A template for the driving license and for the birth certificate.
  3. A photograph.
  4. A laminating machine.
  5. A harassed and/ or gullible immigration officer whose first language is not English.

 

Mohammad often “shepherded” his clients into the USA.  He also often had two sets of documents for each client.  One set contained his photograph, the other his “client’s” photograph, both with a false name, etc.... Muhammad would check in for the flight entering the U.S. and, before embarking on the flight, would hand over the boarding pass to his "client."

 

Statements from witnesses supporting our findings are in our possession.

 

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda in response to our recommendations has instituted an intensive training program aimed at airline counter clerks, immigration officers, customs officials, police officers, passport office clerks and public record employees.  The U.S. Immigration Service has hosted several workshops here in the detection of forged documents.  All recommendations have been implemented.

 

From our point of view what Mohammad did was not so much as "exploiting a loophole" but utilize the computers and the Web to obtain documents to create credible forgeries.  It must be remembered however that at least one of his "clients" was refused U.S. entry in December 2000 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 

Finally, in addition to the many other avenues of investigation that we undertook and the various names and individuals that we investigated, Mohammad not only took advantage of the United States exception for the Western hemisphere but he also utilized forging skills in obtaining for himself and three others four Antigua and Barbuda passports .The other three passports were for Jamaican nationals.

 

Mohammad's activities highlighted the weaknesses in the systems in place in the U.S. and in Antigua and Barbuda in the age of computer technology from which we all should learn hard lessons.

 

As a footnote I think it incumbent upon me to mention the potential repercussions to all tourist oriented countries in the Western hemisphere who allow U.S. citizens without passports but with photo ID to enter if the exception to enter is repealed.  In such an event there will no doubt be an impact on the number of tourists traveling and such impact will no doubt substantially affect our tourist industries.

 

 

Dated 6 May 2003

 

 

 

 

John E. Fuller

 

Phone:  268 462 0485

Fax:  268 462 4901

Email:  fullaw@candw.ag

 

Antigua and Barbuda

 

Task Force Report

To the Attorney General

 

 

Pursuant to our mandate of the 28th October 2002 from the Attorney General we submit the following confidential report.

 

This report is supplemental to our Interim Report of the 31st October 2002. It is based on interviews with interested persons and the examination of documents obtained from the Antigua and Barbuda Passport Office and elsewhere.  Conclusions of fact are solely ours and in some instances made without corroborating evidence but with the actual experience of seeing and hearing the statements of witnesses whom we believe to have been honest or otherwise.

 

Our first line of enquiry was the passport office itself where we demanded that all applications for passports made between the 1st day of April 2000 and the 30th June 2001 be impounded and kept in a room, the only keys to which were kept by us. This was done on the 6th day of November 2002.

 

Because of the sensitive nature of the passport issue we decided first to look for forged documents used to obtain passports.  To do so and because of the large number of applications made in the relevant period we obtained clerical assistance from the Ministry of Legal Affairs and a team of police officers to systematically examine each application.  There were 8304 passport books involved. Every one has been accounted for that was issued in Antigua and Barbuda.

 

As we already had the application for John Allen Williams’ (hereinafter referred to as Muhammad) passport, the method that he used was one line of investigation.  This line of investigation produced three more applications all of which proved to be fraudulent.  They are:

John Edwards, whose real name turned out to be Norman Migill Manroe, a Jamaican national.

Revena Ferris, whose real name is Keshna Douglas, another Jamaican national.

Rona Ascott, whose real name is the same.  She is actually a Jamaican national but as in the other three cases the documents used to obtain the passport were forged.

 

We also screened all applications by having several persons who were acquainted with Muhammad and the persons with whom he associated (particularly of the Jamaican community) examine the photographs of each applicant attached to each application.  It was by this method that the application of "Edwards" was discovered by Keithley Nedd.

 

Additionally, and because each of the four known fraudulent applications were obtained using a forged United States birth certificate for the applicant, we examined the birth certificate of each applicant in the relevant period. This method produced the application of Rona Ascott.

 

After exhaustive and careful analysis using all of the above methods we are satisfied that during the relevant period only the four stated passports were obtained by fraudulent means.  We are also satisfied that all four were obtained by Muhammad, for himself and the others, for personal gain.

 

During our examination of the applications and after being assured by Lady Ena Thomas that the relevant applications were securely sequestered in a room, to which we had the only key, we discovered that one file of applications for some reason had not been included in those sequestered.  This gave rise to concern about the assurances we had been given regarding the safe quarantining of the relevant documents.  We took the said file into custody and secured it.  This file contained the fraudulent application for Revena Ferris which was discovered by passport office staff.

 

This latter incident caused Mr. Keithley Nedd who had been up to that time, fully cooperative, to withdraw his assistance from the investigation.

 

We believe that there are no sinister reasons for the original exclusion of this file from those that we had secured. However, we felt that it was a lapse of care again on the part of the passport office staff. We believe that Nedd’s refusal thereafter to cooperate was and is totally unreasonable and may have been motivated by ulterior motives. We continued without him. We wrote him indicating that he had not completed his perusal of all the relevant applications but to no avail. He has not resumed his assistance in our investigation and has ignored all of our entreaties so to do. He has however seen fit to make public statements on a political platform about the investigation and us.

 

In the course of this investigation we interviewed the following persons;

Keithley Nedd

 M

Judith Peets

Janet Harris

Lennox Gardner

Fitzroy Anthony

George Simpson aka Shanga Netfa

N

Mrs. Gina Papadopolous

Joel Paige

Lynroy Fredrick

Carla Foster

Janet Greer and family

Orella Jarvis

Cassandra Anthony Thomas

Renee Williams

Wilbur Purcell

Jennifer Isaac

Constable Junior Mapp no. 491

Colonel Clyde Walker

Howard Kelly

Muriel Allen Bennett

Alvin Jones

Cpl. Burke no. 219

Cpl. Lewis no. 408

Const. Patrick no. 108

Francine Graham

Sgt. E. Jeffers no. 412

Alan Aflak

Lady Ena Thomas

Violet Josiah

Alvin Langlais

Kevin Perino

Katherine Skipp

Mark Fineman

Libby Nicholson

David Gonsalez

J

Y

Ondell Contstant

Basil Walters

Collin Sullivan

Sgt. Cabral no. 75

Cpl. Hampson no. 125

 

Several of the persons gave statements on the condition that they remain anonymous. The names listed above which are underlined are the ones whom we promised anonymity. Several refused to give written statements and other statements were given over the telephone. In respect of others it was simply impossible to get written statements. We are in possession of all written statements given. However, many of the witnesses above gave background information only and their evidence is not mentioned below.

 

Keithley Nedd failed to give a written statement but insofar as the passport issue is concerned he admitted to us that he saw Muhammad with only one Antiguan and Barbudan Passport. He did say he saw Muhammad “holding” five passports in his hand but that he saw only the front of one of them and it was an Antiguan and Barbudan passport.

 

Nedd has a child with Keshna Douglas’ half-sister. The child’s godfather is Senator Harold Lovell. Muhammad lived in the house of Charles and Euphernia Douglas at Rose Street, St. John’s. Nedd visited his girlfriend at the Douglas household before she lived with him and as a result Nedd saw and heard much of what went on. He made no contemporaneous report of his suspicions to the police. He admits he had a falling out with Charles Douglas and was thereafter not as welcome at the household as he once was. Regarding his allegation of making a loud and public protest at the passport office in the presence of Constable Mapp, Mapp denies any such incident ever took place. It was Nedd who reported that Muhammad told him that he was an expert shot and could shoot a man easily at a great distance.

 

Whilst it is clear that much of what Nedd had to say was corroborated there is no doubt that he exaggerated greatly and evaded all attempts to have him give a full and lucid statement and to complete his perusal of the relevant passport applications. Regardless of his motives, he does deserve some commendation for his original whistle blowing.

 

 M a Jamaican National was also a frequent visitor to the Douglas household. In mid 2000 he met Muhammad at the Douglas household and thereafter formed a relationship with him. Both he and Nedd suspected that Muhammad was forging documents including United States driving licenses and birth certificates. M found out that Muhammad was selling a set of US documents for $3000.00 US and that Muhammad would arrange for those who purchased those documents to fly to the USA on the return half of a ticket for a trip which originated in the USA thereby making it even less suspicious to all concerned.

 

This witness also stated that Muhammad suggested blowing up Barclays Bank and kidnapping the Prime Minister. Most of what this witness told us was corroborated in one way or another. For example, he told us about Rona Ascott but for some reason that information was forgotten by us. Ascott’s name however was independently discovered by a passport clerk who suspected the application to be false because of the included US birth certificate. It was only after Ascott’s arrest that we remembered this witness’ previous information about her.

 

He also informed us about Muhammad’s visits to Libby Nicholson who later confirmed it. M also corroborated independent information given by N concerning Norman Manroe’s and Muhammad’s interest in counterfeit US currency. He also identified Norman Manroe as “Indian” who associated with Muhammad and was the first witness to inform us that Manroe had been sentenced in Antigua for drug trafficking. Manroes’s close association with Muhammad and Manroe’s known propensity for drug trafficking and his involvement with Deon Wylie raised greater concern about Muhammad’s activities in Antigua particularly knowing that Wylie was murdered on the 29th September 2000 in Antigua by a person or persons unknown. Wylie had spent much of the day before he was murdered with Manroe and was involved that day as the victim of a violent pursuit.

 

M told us that Manroe and Wylie had met at the prison and that he, M, had accompanied Muhammad to the prison where Muhammad visited a prisoner. He was not present for that meeting. Prison officials confirmed that Manroe and Wylie were in prison at the same time. We also discovered that Manroe was sent to prison in the name of Kenny Williams he having also fraudulently obtained a passport in the name of Kenny Williams a year before Muhammad ever came to Antigua.

 

Wylie also paid for the funeral of Manroe’s infant who died aged 3 days, just before Manroe was released from prison. The prisoner that Muhammad is alleged to have visited was Livingston Morgan a convicted forger of US currency.

 

Judith Peets’ name was given as the certifier of Manroe’s first false passport for which he successfully applied on the 19th July 1999 in the name of Kenny Kasim Williams. Ms. Peet denied signing the application and our handwriting expert confirmed that the handwriting on the application is not hers. Obviously the passport office did not verify independently any of the facts in this application remember Manroe successfully applied again with Muhammad’s help for a second false passport on the 11th September 2000 in the name of John Edwards. Obviously again the passport office did not verify independently any of the facts in that application.

 

Janet Harris is the headmistress of the Greenville Primary School on Rose Street Ottos. Muhammad sent his 3 children to that school and it is immediately adjacent to the Douglas household on Rose Street. Muhammad used his wit and charm on Mrs. Harris, in addition to his helpful attitude and healthy appearance, to obtain Mrs. Harris’ certification on his passport application. She admitted certifying that she knew him for 18 months when in fact she knew him for barely two months. It is also alleged that she certified the application for John Edwards. She denied it and the matter will shortly be sub judice. Again neither of these applications was independently verified by the passport office. A warrant has been issued for Mrs. Harris’ arrest.

 

Lennox Gardner, the director of the Social Security Scheme, confirmed that Muhammad obtained a social security card in the name of John Allen Williams using the passport in the name of John Allen Williams which he used as proof of his identity and citizenship.

 

Fitzroy Anthony, a senior sergeant of police assisted in two ways. First, he was the officer who investigated Muhammad’s escape from St. John’s Police Station on the 13th March 2001 and who also attempted to locate Howard “Steve” Kelly; both eluded him. His statement, a copy of which is attached, is self-explanatory. Second, Sgt. Anthony is the investigator in Deon Wylie’s murder. He allowed us to read his file. That murder is still unsolved.

 

Gina Papadopolous, a witness at the scene of the murder, stated that Norman Manroe was not the person seen leaving the scene covered in blood.

 

George Simpson, who has since legally changed his name to Shanga Nefta was a known associate of Muhammad and was often seen in his company. It is Simpson’s name which is shown as the certifier of the passports obtained in the names of Revena Ferris and Rona Ascott. He is a plumber. He denies signing as certifier or that the signatures of “George Simpson” on both applications are his. Our handwriting expert supports him. Needless to say, he was not contacted by the passport office to verify any facts in those applications. It should be noted that the passport office accepted a plumber’s certification without verification and on the application “plumbing” was spelt “plumming” by the plumber. It should also be noted that for all four applications which we attribute to Muhammad, Eva Ferris is shown as the mother!

 

Joel Paige of the Birth Registry wrote up the birth certificate for Eva Ferris which was used in all applications but understandably he cannot remember doing so or for whom.

 

N was Deon Wylie’s girlfriend. She knew Norman Manroe. Both Wylie and Manroe were drug traffickers and dealers and both were interested in and did possess counterfeit US currency. She stated that Manroe spent much of the 28th September 2000 with Wylie. Wylie was murdered on the 29th September 2000. She notes that they met in prison and that Wylie paid for the funeral of Manroe’s infant while Manroe was still in prison. She is still afraid and wishes to remain anonymous.

 

Mrs. Janet Greer at the request of her cousin Randolph Simon (who lived in Tacoma, Washington State and was a friend of Muhammad) allowed Muhammad and his three children to stay with her when they arrived in Antigua on the 28th March 2000. All four arrived on American Airlines flight 5502 on one “travel” document, namely the Wyoming driving license no. 451891495 of Muhammad. There is no doubt that this too was a forgery. His name was shown as Thomas Allen Lee. His children, whose embarkation/ disembarkation (ED) cards were filled out by Muhammad, were declared as Fred Allen Lee, Theresa Lee and Lisa Lee- all false names of course. Muhammad introduced himself to Mrs. Greer as John Muhammad instead of Lee and his children as John Jr., Thalibah and Selima. Before long Mrs. Greer realized that Muhammad had kidnapped his children and asked him to leave in spite of being shown a letter which Muhammad produced giving him “authority” for Muhammad to travel with his children. Up to that point Mrs. Greer and her whole family had been very kind and helpful to the Muhammads. It seems he went thereafter directly to Charles and Eupersia Douglas’ house on Rose Street. Mrs. Greer and family had no further contact with the Muhammads.

 

Lynroy Frederick, a security officer for The Public Works Department, states that in or about October 2000 he saw Muhammad and another person twice at early hours of the morning in the vicinity of the Prime Minister’s home at Soldiers Ghaut. He stated that Muhammad asked him if that was the Prime Minister’s home. However, Frederick also stated that he Frederick thought that Muhammad and the other person were other security guards for the home but didn’t explain how he could have thought that while at the same time Muhammad was asking if that was the Prime Minister’s home.

 

Wilbur Purcell of Special Security Services stated that he knew Muhammad, who offered his services as a consultant, but Purcell did not take up his offer. Purcell himself was very cooperative but his staff was not, and on occasion displayed ignorance and were extremely uncooperative.

 

The Staff of American Airlines were very cooperative. It was as a result of suspicions raised by Muhammad’s behaviour on the 11th March 2001 that Muhammad was arrested and taken into custody by Sgt. Cabral and Cpl. Hampson. Muhammad, calling himself “Norman”, had for some time been purchasing tickets from American Airlines. He sometimes would purchase as much as $10,000.00 EC worth of tickets at one time.

 

On one occasion he checked in for a flight with a check-in clerk who happened to travel on the same flight. On the flight she noticed that he was not on the aircraft. Upon her return she checked the manifest and discovered that he indeed was on the flight-or in any event his name was shown as being on the flight. She rightly concluded that he had switched documents with someone whom she did not recognize. As a result the alarm was raised and on the next occasion, the 11th March 2001, when “Norman” attempted to check in, this time in the name of “Dwight Russell” she called the police and Muhammad was captured only to escape on the 13th as we already know.

 

Howard “Steve” Kelly was the other person at the airport on the 11th March 2001. He had paid Muhammad $2500.00 US to provide false US travel documents in the name of Dwight Russel. He was told to wait in the men’s room of Big Banana at the airport until Muhammad had checked in and obtained a boarding pass which along with the travel documents was to be given to Kelly in the men’s room. Muhammad was caught. Kelly waited for hours and eventually left. On the 19th December 2002 Kelly turned himself in and in exchange for immunity from prosecution given by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Kelly gave a full statement of his involvement. When Muhammad was arrested the police took possession of a driving license in the name of Dwight Russel bearing a photograph of Muhammad. The Police also took a US birth certificate from Muhammad in the name of Dwight Russel together with a one-way ticket to Los Angeles in the name of Dwight Russel and two suitcases with what later proved to be Kelly’s personal effects.

 

Colonel Clyde Walker his deputy Alvin Jones and their staff fully cooperated. In fact when Norman Manroe was arrested at V.C. Bird Airport in February 2000 for drug trafficking in the name of Kenny Williams, Alvin Jones, who was present, told the arresting officer that Williams’ right name was Manroe and that he was a Jamaican. This information was not acted upon and Manroe was arrested, convicted and imprisoned in the false name of Kenny Williams. Even at Court Jones informed the prosecutor of his knowledge but the case went ahead in the name of Kenny Williams an “Antiguan” citizen. Upon his release from prison instead of being deported to Jamaica Manroe was released back into society as an Antiguan. Jones prepared a full file on Manroe and was the first to suspect that Manroe had fraudulently obtained an Antiguan and Barbudan passport completely independently of Muhammad’s efforts. This file was given to the then Chief Immigration Officer. We are not aware of any action taken.

 

Notwithstanding the above, we discovered that Manroe was deported from Puerto Rico back to Antigua in December 2000. How he slipped through the cracks on his re-arrival here we do not know. He had already obtained his second false passport in the name of John Edwards in September 2000. We do suspect that he too had fake US travel documents done by Muhammad. In any event he appears to have left Antigua for Jamaica as John Edwards in June 2001 and next appeared in Massachusetts in October 2001 when he was arrested on a drug charge and since then he has been in custody. We have also discovered that on the 11th September 2001, using forged US documents, he applied for a US passport in Massachusetts. He has since been charged, indicted and arraigned for this and is awaiting trial in custody in Massachusetts.

 

Additionally we have discovered that Muhammad, using the name of Thomas Lee, applied in Antigua to the US Embassy in Barbados for a US passport using more forged documents. The forgeries were quickly discovered but Muhammad never followed up his application.

 

Alan Aflak informed us that he had a flurry of requests from members of the public for driving license type photographs with red backgrounds. When he realized the use to which these could be put he refused to do any more. Antiguan and Barbudan driving license photographs have a white background.

 

Cpl. Burke and Cpl. Lewis were on duty at St. John's police station on the morning of the 13th March 2001.  Muhammad was in their custody. Cpl. Burke was noted in the diary as off duty for reasons of ill health at 11:39 AM and at 11:40 AM Cpl. Lewis notes that Muhammad “Whyte Russell” "walked out" of the station!  A suspicious sequence of events and an obvious gross lack of security.

 

J and his wife Y were interviewed and their home was searched by warrant.  Both their computers and laminating machine were examined both for content and fingerprints.  Nothing useful was found but there is evidence to suggest that they assisted Muhammad in the preparation of forged US driving licenses and birth certificates.  The evidence is however insufficient in our opinion to recommend that they be charged.

 

We have been unable to discover much about Lee Boyd Malvo.  He arrived in Antigua on the 9th July 1999 aged 14 years.  He went to live with his mother Una James, another Jamaican national, at Cashew Hill.  Shortly afterward he was enrolled at the 7th Day Adventist School. Una James met Muhammad through the Douglas’ and it seems certain that she too obtained US travel documents from Muhammad.  She appears to have left Antigua in late 2000 or early 2001.  She turned up in Fort Myers, Florida by May 2001 where she married a US citizen apparently for immigration purposes.

 

Una James left her son alone in a rented house in Bendals Road.  He lived there alone for about 3 months.  He was then 15 years old and became 16 years old on the 18th February 2001. No rent was paid for the home for three months and the landlord disconnected all utilities. Malvo took care of himself and went to school for those three months. Finally, in an apparent fit of frustration, he trashed the inside of the house and moved in with Muhammad on Rose Street.

 

After Una James’ departure she would send money for Malvo through Muhammad.  Not much came.  From information received Una James did not pay Muhammad for her forged documents and was visited in Florida in mid 2001 by Muhammad who, it is suggested, held on to Malvo as security for his payment.

 

During our enquiries several reports were made to us by members of the public but very few resulted in useful information.  For example, as a result of information, the home of a Jamaican national one Francine Graham was searched with a warrant by our investigating officers looking for an Antiguan and Barbudan passport.  None was found.

 

When Muhammad escaped on the 13th March 2001 he disappeared and obviously shortly thereafter left Antigua probably under a false name.  It is clear however, that upon his return to the US he legally changed his name from John Allen Williams to John Allen Muhammad in mid April 2001. On the 20th day of May 2001 he returned to Antigua this time as John Allen Muhammad using US driving license MUHAMJA402RU as a travel document. 

 

Muhammad stated in his ED card on his arrival that he would be staying at Pineapple Beach.  His children and Malvo had, in mid March 2001, been taken away from Rose Street by a taxi and were not seen again.  In any event immigration records show that on the 31st day of May 2001 Muhammad, his three children and another person whom we believe to be Malvo, left Antigua for Puerto Rico on American Airlines flight 5527.  This time, except for Malvo, they traveled as Muhammads. Malvo traveled as Lindbergh Williams who in fact is Muhammad's first son.  None of them has ever returned to Antigua.

 

While there is no doubt that Muhammad is a Muslim we have found no evidence that any of his illegal activities in Antigua and Barbuda were in any way connected to his concept of Islam.

 

Conclusions

 

Williams came to Antigua to hide his children whom he had effectively kidnapped. He was without funds. His choice of Antigua as a destination seems to have been totally random and based solely on his acquaintance with Randolph Simon, Janet Greer’s cousin. He did receive small remittances from the US via Western Union.  The Western Union staff were unable to locate records of these transfers.  Williams needed money to survive and he turned to forgery.  He found a fertile market in selling forged US travel documents, probably over 20, which at $3000.00 US each earned him over $160,000.00 EC. Most were sold to Jamaican nationals. The fraudulently obtained Antigua and Barbuda passports were of little value in the market as possession of one did little or nothing to assist anyone getting to the USA.  We have no evidence that he sent anyone anywhere else.

 

We conclude that Muhammad obtained an Antiguan and Barbudan passport for the sole purpose of assisting his living in Antigua and Barbuda. As a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda he would not require a work permit and he could easily obtain a Social Security card and register with the Medical Benefits Scheme and other institutions.

 

In addition, he seems to have accompanied many of his "clients" to a US port of entry as a shepherd and would return to Antigua laden with goods for sale for other "clients".  His outgoing friendly nature and his attractive physical attributes all lent to his being trusted and liked. He also seems to have had a good working knowledge of psychology and used it to prey on anyone from whom he needed an advantage.

 

As a result of carelessness on the part of the passport office staff he obtained four passports and no more.  Coincidentally a friend of Muhammad whom he met in Antigua, one Peter John Gianquinto, using similar methods to Muhammad's, fraudulently obtained a US passport in New York.

 

The passport staff must use more care in perusing applications and must do spot checks with certifiers of applications particularly in respect of applications which contain foreign birth certificates. Many of the certificates produced to the passport office contained different typefaces and in some cases the same word was spelt differently on the same documents. Failure to notice these discrepancies can be described as carelessness, negligence or at best lack of competence.

 

We all feel that our records of births, deaths and marriage should be available for inspection to all and even for extraction by all but whenever an extract is made a permanent record should be kept of the particulars of the applicant for the extract.

 

We do not believe that a long delay in obtaining a passport is necessary.  We have received numerous complaints about the length of time applicants must wait for a passport and we believe there can be no justification for these long delays.  Although we have no brief regarding applications for citizenship, our comments on the delays in obtaining passports apply equally or more so to the extremely inordinate delays in processing citizenship applications. The same staff deal with both types of applications. There is a patent need for changes in the staff and system at the passport/ citizenship office.

 

We debated heatedly whether a plumber ought to be acceptable as a certifier. We felt that to exclude tradesmen and persons of similar trades as certifiers smacks of elitism but when we look at similar requirements in other jurisdictions a professional person is usually required. Until recently this was the case here but it was changed by statutory instrument.

 

Try as we did we were unable to find any connection whatsoever between Muhammad and Richard Reid. We looked for that connection because on Muhammad’s original arrival he wrote on his ED card that he was going to stay with one Janet Reed of “Long Fords Estate.” There is no connection. Janet’s last name is in fact Greer- formerly Kellman.

 

We have found no evidence of any terrorist activity in Antigua connected with Muhammad or otherwise.

 

We also concluded that no event or person in Antigua in any way triggered or contributed to the tragic events allegedly connected with Muhammad and Malvo in the US.

We have been surprised that other than the allegations concerning Francine Graham, not a single complaint or report has been made to any of us concerning the existence of a single fraudulently obtained passport. Given the widespread notoriety concerning our investigation and the loud and clamorous allegations from some quarters of the issuing of great numbers of fraudulent passports it would have been reasonable to have expected to be inundated with reports of such. We received one only and it was baseless. We have been informed that prior to our appointment the Honourable Baldwin Spencer was invited to personally peruse all passport applications by Lady Ena Thomas. He has to date not taken up the offer.

 

We conclude that the allegation that there is a passport “scandal” are without foundation and are concocted, at the very least in respect of the period we investigated.

 

As an experiment using documents available on the Internet we were amazed at how easy it was to create a forged birth certificate. We created one and laminated it and we attach it to this report. It would be just as easy to create a false driving license with photograph. This can easily be done with the use of the Internet and someone versed in the use of computers. John Muhammad was not so versed and we conclude that he had local assistance from J in creating these documents.

 

John Muhammad committed several criminal offences in Antigua and Barbuda. Having regard to the charges he faces in the courts of the USA it seems that it would be ludicrous to apply for his extradition. There is no doubt that an extradition order would be made but it would inevitably be postponed until he is tried and convicted and served his sentences.

  1. We are satisfied that save for carelessness, there has been no wrongdoing in the passport office. In order to dispel all suspicions, no matter how unfounded, of wrongdoing in the passport office we recommend a change in the leadership of the staff of that department. Public confidence has been eroded and needs to be restored by decisive action.
  2. Special training or specially trained staff needs to be provided to the passport office for the purpose of ensuring as much as possible that forged documents are not accepted. All staff must at all times be aware of the ease with which documents can now be forged.
  3. Certifiers of passport applications must provide a daytime telephone number and ought to be contacted on a random basis to verify facts in applications.
  4. The passport office ought to be computerized.
  5. Immigration officers should no longer accept incomplete information on immigration cards and no one ought to be allowed into the country without some valid identification document.
  6. Certifiers of passport applications should be strictly limited to certain professions.
  7. Public records should be available to all freely upon payment of a small search fee but for every extract made from these records there ought to be a permanent record of the applicant kept by the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages.
  8. The delays in obtaining passports and citizenships must be avoided by speedy professional handling of all such applications.
  9. Laminated documents ought not to be accepted. Lamination hides embossed seals which ought to be on foreign documents. Lamination also falsely lends to the acceptance of forged documents as true giving them a more genuine appearance than they deserve.
  10. We also recommend that the passport office be audited on a quarterly basis by an independent committee comprised of persons appointed by both sides of the House of Representatives whose quarterly report be published in the Gazette.

Finally we wish to thank all who assisted us in this investigation and apologize to the passport office staff for any inconvenience caused by us. We are particularly grateful to Inspector Leroy Morgan, Senior Sergeant Clement Solomon and Constable Sean Wayne for their help.

John Fuller- Chairman               _______________________________

 

Ralph A. Francis- Member                   _______________________________

 

Father Arnold Francis- Member           _______________________________

 

Cosmos Marcelle- Member                  _______________________________

 

Interim Report of Task Force Investigation of John

Allen Williams aka John Allen Mohammed

 

 

This is the Interim Report requested by the Attorney General in her letter of the 28th day of October 2002 when she appointed the Task Force to investigate inter alia the circumstances surrounding the application and issuance of an Antigua and Barbuda passport to John Allen Williams.

 

Because of the restriction of time imposed upon us we have limited this Interim Report as stated above. We have however already made extensive investigations regarding our other terms of reference and we respectfully suggest that these matters be deferred for the Final Report as premature disclosure of the material at our disposal may jeopardize our ability to investigate thoroughly and may thwart any possible criminal prosecution which may be required to be undertaken in the intervening period.

 

To date we have interviewed several persons including Lady Ena Thomas Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Violet Josiah passport clerk in the said Ministry, Mrs. Janet Harris Principal of Greenville Primary School and Mrs. Murial Bennet Lee Allen, former teacher at the said school. We have also perused all necessary files and documents at the passport office and several documents from the Immigration Department. We have also obtained other documents which we believe originated from John Allen Williams and which give rise to great concern regarding Williams’ activities in Antigua and Barbuda and the report of which will be included in the Final Report.

 

Regarding the Antigua and Barbuda passport number 0118115 issued on the 4th July 2000 to Williams we have determined that the following events and facts are certain:

 

1.   Williams and his three children arrived at V.C. Bird International Airport on the 28th of March 2000. He possessed documentation describing himself as Thomas Alan Lee with a Wyoming USA driving license no. 451891495. He filled in a disembarkation card for himself as above and for his three children naming them Fred  Allen Lee, Teresa Lee and Lisa Lee. He stated that he was going to stay with “Jeanette Reed of Long Fords Estate, phone number 463-6610.” It seems clear to us that (a) he used false names for himself and his children (b) used a false driving license and (c) falsely stated that he was going to stay with Jeanette Reed. He well knew he was going to stay with Janet Greer at Golden Grove as he had before his arrival spoken to her on the telephone. We have ascertained this from Ms. Greer who actually picked him and his children up at the airport on the 28th March 2000. Her phone number is 461-6110 and not 463-6110 as he stated on his disembarkation card.

2.      Williams and his family stayed at Ms. Greer’s home for 4 to 5 weeks after his arrival until she asked him to leave on account of her suspicions that he had kidnapped his children in spite of the fact that Williams showed her a document purporting to be signed by the children’s mother giving Williams authority to leave the United States with the children.

3.      Shortly afterwards he and his children moved into a house on Rose Street, Ottos next to the Greenville Primary School owned by Mrs. Janet Harris who was also the principal of the school.

4.      In April 2000 he enrolled his children at the said school using the surname Lee with Christian names different than those with which they entered Antigua.

5.      During April May and June 2000 he inveigled his way into the good graces of principal Janet Hams at the school.

6.      During the same period he spoke on one occasion to Mrs. Muriel Allen, a teacher at the said school, to whom he suggested that they were related by virtue of the mutual name of “Allen”. During the conversation he asked her for her mother’s name and she told them it was Eva Ferris.

7.      On the 19th June 2000 Williams applied for an Antigua and Barbuda passport. In support of his application he presented a Louisiana birth certificate purporting to be his and an Antigua and Barbuda birth certificate of one Eva Ferris. We have been unable to ascertain how Williams obtained Eva Ferris’ birth certificate.

8.      On the 4th July 2000 a passport was issued in the name of John Allen Williams which Williams apparently collected on the 18th July 2000.

9.      Upon a perusal of the said Louisiana birth certificate presented by Williams in support of this passport application, his mother’s name is stated as Eva Feris aged 39. The certificate however plainly shows that the informant of the birth of John Williams was the “parent” whose signature is shown as “Mrs. Myrtie Williams” and not Eva Feris. This alone is a blatant contradiction on the face of the document and should have been seen. Additionally the mother’s age at the time of Williams’ birth is stated as 39 on the 31st December 1960 resulting in the mother being born in 1921. The accompanying birth certificate of Eva Ferris shows her year of birth in Antigua as 1929. This also should have been a red flag to the staff at the passport office. The spelling of Ferris differs on both documents, another reason to be concerned about the application. Finally, the typeface used for “Eva Feris” and “Antigua St. John’s” in Williams’ birth certificate are different in style to the balance of typeface used in the other words typed in the certificate and are off angle to the other lines typed on the certificate.

10.  The identity of Williams was certified in paragraph 9 of the application by Mrs. Janet Harris described above. On the 19th June 2000 she certified that she knew Williams for 1 year and 6 months. She admitted to the chairman that this was untrue and that she had known the Williams family for 4 months only but that she wanted to help them as Williams had told her his mother was Antiguan. Further he had been so helpful at school and seemed very honest.

11.  It seems clear to us that had Williams’ documentation been examined carefully his application would have been rejected and his documents may have been referred to the police and become the subject of criminal prosecution for forgery and/or making a false statement under section 6 of the Forgery Act Cap 181. These charges are still possible.

12.  We conclude that save for Williams’ deliberate falsification of his passport application and his birth certificate and Mrs. Harris’ false statement, there is no evidence of any criminal collusion with anyone in the passport office. However, we have to conclude that there was negligence in the issuing of the passport. Three persons in the office perused his application and supporting documents namely, Ms. Jasmine Stewart counter clerk, Ms. Violet Josiah passport clerk and Lady Ena Thomas Permanent Secretary. We emphasize that the various discrepancies listed above should have been observed. We learned that Ms. Jasmine Stewart left the Civil Service at the end of July 2000. We have found nothing to suggest that she was involved in any impropriety in connection with the issuing of Williams’ passport.

13.  We also conclude that there is no evidence to link Williams to Richard Reid.

14.  We are satisfied that Williams in not a citizen of Antigua and Barbuda.

 

 

Recommendations in this report are limited to the passport office and are as follows:

 

The passport office issues over 5000 passports annually. In fact on the 4th July 2000 over 60 passports were issued. The careful perusal and examination of supporting documents is vital to ensure that forgeries and falsifications do not succeed. We strongly recommend that the examination and vetting of applications and supporting documents are done by staff who are trained to detect forgeries and false documents. The final approval should be a formality given with the solid and unshakeable knowledge that all is in order. Clearly this is not the case now and urgent steps must be taken to ensure that our recommendations are implemented.

 

Finally (and the following portion of the report ought to be kept confidential) we are in possession of information which leads us to strongly suspect (a) that Williams may have fraudulently obtained several more Antigua and Barbuda passports and (b) that Williams engaged in an extensive conspiracy to forge and provide forged U.S. travel documents for illegal immigrants to the United States. Our investigation into this aspect is ongoing and may be the subject of a second Interim Report. We may call upon the assistance of the Police to obtain search warrants of and interviews with named individuals who may have been accessories to the above activities.

We attach hereto copies of the documents mentioned herein. Dated:  31st October 2002

 

John Fuller- Chairman                           _______________________________

 

Ralph A. Francis- Member                   _______________________________

 

Father Arnold Francis- Member                       _______________________________

 

Cosmos Marcelle- Member                  _______________________________

John
E. Fuller

Curriculum
Vitae

 

 

Born 19 March 1946

Educated:        

Christ the King
Primary School (Antigua)
1950- 1958

            St.
Joseph's Academy (Antigua)
1958-1962

            St.
Peter's College New Jersey,
USA 1962- 1966

            Inns
of Court School of Law
London, England
1967- 1972

Legal Officer of the Attorney
General Antigua 1973- 1975

Private practice Antigua
1975- present

 

John E. Fuller

39 Newgate Street

PO Box 1168

St. John’s, Antigua

West Indies

268 462 0485

268 462 4901 fax

fullaw@candw.ag

 



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