Two accused of falsely revoking foreign worker’s permit to have him deported

Bangladeshi nationals charged with unauthorised access to victim’s government e-ID to revoke his work permit in a bid to ensure his deportation

Two men accused of logging into a third party’s account on the government e-ID system to revoke the account owner’s work permit, in what police suspect to be a bid to have that person deported, have been granted bail after denying the charges.

Police Inspector Marcus Cachia and Attorney General prosecutors Nathaniel Falzon and Andreas Vella arraigned Hossain Md Tanvir, 26, and Raad Raiyyan Karim 23, under arrest before Magistrate Joe Mifsud earlier today.

The defendants, both Bangladeshi nationals, were charged with making unauthorised access to electronic data and then copying, modifying or destroying it.

Inspector Cachia told the court that the men were arrested following an investigation by the police cybercrime unit into a report received on April 23. The person filing the report, also understood to be a third party national, had told the police that someone had accessed the central permit system using his e-ID and revoked his work permit.

The victim told the police he suspected that the desired result of the action was to have him deported.

The police traced the IP address logged as having requested the revocation, to a leased apartment in Birkirkara. The authorities found the lease to be registered in the name of the two defendants, although it emerged in court that a number of other individuals also resided there.

Tanvir, a plumber and Karim, a hotel employee, both pleaded not guilty to the charges. Lawyer Franco Debono, for Tanvir, requested bail, pointing out that the defendants had a fixed address and had fully cooperated with the police, to the extent of giving investigators their passwords.

Karim’s lawyer Ishmael Psaila also requested bail for his client, explaining that there was no risk of them tampering with the evidence in this case and adding that the men fully intended to remain in Malta.

The prosecution objected to the request for the men’s release from arrest citing the risk of them absconding, highlighting that the address where they had resided for the past 6 months was rented accommodation.

Magistrate Mifsud upheld the bail request, ordering the defendants to sign a bail book at their local police station every day. The court upheld the prosecution’s request to order the defendants not to access any portals or information relating to their own or anyone else’s Identity Malta single permit system or e-ID. Bail was secured by a personal guarantee of €20,000 each.