Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Suaad Hagi Mohamud: DFAIT responds

The lawyer for marooned Canadian Suaad Hagi Mohamud will be back before the Federal Court tomorrow in a last-ditch attempt to repatriate her before she faces a Kenyan court on Friday.

Yesterday Raoul Boulakia filed six affidavits from friends and family attesting to her identity. He has concerns with the official handling of this case: and so do I.

Why, he asks, has the Canadian High Commission in Kenya been pretending to wait for fingerprint confirmation when it now turns out that there are none to match the ones she voluntarily provided nearly two weeks ago?

A good question.

As reported, Boulakia also wants to know why government agencies haven't checked Mohamud's identity claims with those who could identify her--like her 12-year-old son and other family members, and friends.

Meanwhile, Liberal MP Dan McTeague came down heavily on the Conservative government saying Mohamud's case "devalues" Canadian citizenship.

"She's done her due diligence. I'd like to know what the holdup is," said the MP.

"I know the machinery of government can move a lot quicker if it has to," said McTeague (Pickering-Scarborough East).

"It requires intervention at the top end. Where is the foreign minister?"

That's another good question. Lawrence Cannon and Public Safety Minister Peter van Loan, in fact, are doing the old two-step shuffle, each office referring all inquiries to the other one.

According to a well-placed source, DFAIT has referred the file to the Canadian Border Services Agency, claiming that fraud has been conclusively established. Their story:

  • When Mohamud arrived in Kenya over two months ago, a photograph of her was taken, and the person now claiming to be Mohamud does not match the photo;

  • Foreign Affairs and CBSA have conducted four separate investigations, and she has "failed" each one, including photographic matching tests and extensive interviews;

  • Foreign Affairs requested the fingerprints, not Mohamud;

  • Consular services are not being provided, because she is not considered to be a Canadian citizen;

  • CBSA reports an average of five cases of attempted passport fraud per week in Nairobi, and knows how to investigate these cases.
Much of this seems highly dubious, to put it mildly. The most obvious first question to ask is, If this person is a fraud, where is the real Mohamud?

Here are a couple more:

If there is no fingerprint comparison to be had, what about a DNA test?
A DNA sample from Mohamud could be matched against her son's DNA. But Canadian officials don't seem very interested in DNA tests, even though they are conclusive.

Abdihakim Mohamed, a Canadian who has been marooned in Kenya for three years by Foreign Affairs, has offered his DNA to compare with that of his Ottawa-based mother, but has been ignored to this day.

Our taxes have paid for four investigations, when a simple DNA match-up would either confirm or disprove Mohamud's story.

And given that she has been in telephone contact with her family and friends in Toronto, why, if Mohamud is an impostor, has no one said, "Hey, that's not her voice!" Is the entire community part of a conspiracy?

DFAIT's story simply doesn't hold up. And for Mohamud and her family, time is getting perilously short.

UPDATE: (July 22) Mohamud's lawyer is now asking for a DNA test. What impostor would insist on such a thing?

UPPERDATE: DNA test coming up. But will the Kenyan authorities wait?

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