Man jailed for using false documents to obtain ID card and passport

A man has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for using false documents to acquire an ID card and passport, highlighting potential flaws in Identity Malta's security protocols

Identity Malta passport
Identity Malta passport

A Somali national who was issued an ID card using documents belonging to two different individuals and who then subsequently used it to apply for a passport has been jailed, in a case which raises questions about Identity Malta’s security processes.

Inspector Jonathan Cassar arraigned Abdulkari Mohammed before Magistrate Elaine Rizzo on Wednesday. The defendant had claimed to have lost his passport and applied for a replacement using an ID card and an International Protection Agency document which had been issued to two different individuals.

The court heard how the police investigation revealed that Mohammed had filed a false police report about losing his passport in April, using the International Protection Agency document as proof of his identity. He had then used the report and the IPA document to be issued an ID card.

The police were alerted when he used the ID card to apply for a new passport after officials noticed that he was clearly not the same person.

The defendant, who told the court that he lived in Sliema and described himself as “no longer employed,” pleaded guilty to the charges.

Inspector Cassar told the court that Mohammed had given the police a false name during his interrogation and had been uncooperative. However, describing the damage actually done as minimal, the prosecution suggested the imposition of a prison sentence tending towards the minimum.

In her submissions on punishment, the defendant’s legal aid lawyer Ingrid Zammit Young argued that the situation was not completely of the defendant’s making, telling the court that he had been given the false documents by a friend of his, asking the court to take into account the fact that his ID card had been validly issued by Maltese officials “who had not bothered to check whether he was the same person on the documents.” 

In view of the defendant’s admission of guilt and making reference to the applicable laws, the court found the man guilty. The offences to which he had admitted were very serious and jeopardised Malta’s national security, said the magistrate, sentencing the defendant to imprisonment for 16 months.