Friday, March 23, 2012


This trial is quite  interesting and surprisingly long. Ottawa Citizen reports on the details:

No one would risk job over $200 gifts, witness tells immigration fraud trial

OTTAWA — A man who was supposed to be a star witness for the Crown in its case against an immigration manager charged with fraud and bribery has instead claimed the bureaucrat didn’t know he was accepting cash from immigrants.
And while Issam Dakik said he did give Diane Serre gifts and cash up to $200, he never told her it was in exchange for her help speeding up the processing of permanent resident applications and other immigration files.
Prosecutors allege Dakik teamed up with Serre — a family friend who also babysat and tutored his children — in a scheme that saw Serre use her influence as an immigration manager to fast track the application process.
Serre, 41, has pleaded not guilty to 28 charges, including fraud upon the government, breach of trust by a public official and bribery.
Dakik said someone would have to be “the most stupid person on the earth” to risk a good job with Citizenship and Immigration Canada over $200 gifts.
Serre was steadfast that she wouldn’t accept money for helping with the immigration files because it would be wrong, Dakik said, even when he suggested they could make a lot of cash together.
Serre insisted on following the rules, Dakik said.
“Any clients I have, did the RCMP strip them of their status? No, because it fit the rules,” said Dakik.
Dakik agreed with Serre’s lawyer, Natasha Calvinho, that he didn’t want Serre to know he was collecting money because there was a “real risk” she wouldn’t continue to help him.
However, Serre did tell him she and other immigration officers could accept the $200 gifts, Dakik said. The code of conduct for Citizenship and Immigration Canada says it may be all right to accept token gifts, but says nothing about a $200 limit.
Dakik, who was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison for the fraud, testified he didn’t even read the facts he admitted to when he pleaded guilty. Those facts implicated Serre in the scheme.
Dakik said Thursday that he took the plea because the Crown agreed to drop charges against his wife.
Dakik’s testimony Thursday followed six days of cross-examination by the Crown after a judge declared Dakik an adverse witness as a result of his evasive answers that were full of discrepancies.

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