Passports mailed from Bangladesh for work visa application land recipient in hot water

The man said he was supposed to hand the passport documents to his boss so that he can apply for work permits and visas

A man charged under the immigration act after police discovered two Bangladeshi passports inside a courier package addressed to him, explained that he was supposed to hand them over to his boss for the purposes of applying for work visas.

Pieta resident Sarker Subo, 39 from Bangladesh was arraigned before Magistrate Monica Vella this afternoon by inspector Frankie Sammut, accused of possessing a passport belonging to someone else.

Inspector Sammut told the court that Subo had been arrested after police were called during “inspections on irregular migrants,” at a residence in Pieta.

Several persons’ identification documents were checked and no irregularities found, but police noted one of the men acting “a little bit strangely,” the inspector said. Subo was seen closing a cabinet in his bedroom, which the police had then searched.

Inside the cabinet, officers discovered a sealed DHL bag, addressed to the accused. When it was opened, the package was found to contain two Bangladeshi passports, pertaining to individuals who the police subsequently confirmed, lived in Bangladesh.

He had told the police that he was supposed to hand the documents to his boss, in order for him to apply for work permits and visas.

The inspector pointed out that it is against the law to be in possession of other people’s passports.

After consulting with the accused, defence lawyer Robert Galea informed the court that his client wished to plead guilty.

At this stage the Court warned the accused that the charges carried a maximum sentence of imprisonment for two years. Asked if, with this in mind, he wished to still plead guilty, the man persisted with his plea.

In his submissions on punishment, Galea argued that the documents had still been in a sealed envelope when Subo was arrested, and that the police had opened it in his presence. “It is a very formal offence, not mala in se (wrong in itself), of which the accused was not aware. He was assisting his compatriots in the process of obtaining a Maltese visa.”

Subo was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years.