A Delta man has been charged with fraud and several infractions under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act relating to alleged fraudulent refugee claims spanning more than a decade.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced Oct. 1 charges against two people — Balraj Singh “Roger” Bhatti, 61, of Delta and Sofiane Dahak, 52, of Vancouver — stemming from an investigation into fraudulent refugee claims made by certain foreign nationals from Central Europe.
The CBSA’s criminal investigations section alleges that Bhatti and Dahak colluded with the foreign nationals to misrepresent their claims for refugee protection before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. The offences were allegedly committed between February 2002 and March 2014 while Bhatti practised as a lawyer and Dahak acted as an interpreter.
The CBSA began investigating their activities in 2012 and executed search warrants on June 4, 2014, thereafter reviewing evidence connected to a number of refugee claims. Most of the refugee claimants were found not to be convention refugees and were removed from Canada.
“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. This is a serious issue and the CBSA is committed to holding offenders accountable,” Nina Patel, CBSA’s regional director general for the Pacific region, said in a press release.
Bhatti is charged with eight counts of misrepresenting material facts in relation to refugee claims, pursuant to Section 127(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; and one count of counselling misrepresentation of material facts in relation to refugee claims, pursuant to Section 126 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Bhatti is also charged with four counts of forgery, pursuant to Section 366(1)(b) of the Criminal Code (x4); and seven counts of using a forged document, pursuant to Section 368(1)(b) of the Criminal Code.
Dahak is charged with seven counts of misrepresenting material facts in relation to refugee claims, pursuant to Section 127(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (x7); and one count of counselling misrepresentation of material facts in relation to refugee claims, pursuant to Section 126 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Both of the accused appeared in Surrey Provincial Court on Oct. 6 and are due to appear again on Nov. 20.
The CBSA is responsible for enforcing the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and investigates and prosecutes cases where there is evidence of violations. Members of the public are encouraged to report suspicious immigration activities to the CBSA by calling 1-888-502-9060.