5 Sep 2006

Samoa to introduce new policy on issuing birth certificates

7:59 am on 5 September 2006

Samoa's Ministry of Finance in charge of the office for registration of births, marriages, and deaths, will soon introduce a new policy for issuing birth certificates.

The Registrar of the office, Levaopolo Patisela Eteuati, says the move follows a report of a Samoan man alleged to have used his first cousin's birth certificate to obtain a passport and all his travel documents.

The man had also used the same birth certificate to apply for permanent residency in New Zealand under the annual immigration quota scheme where he was selected.

The New Zealand and Samoa Immigration authorities are negotiating the return of the man to Samoa, where he may face criminal charges.

But Levaopolo points out there are no provisions in the law to stop anyone from producing someone else's birth certificate from his office.

This is one reason he suspects the problem of using other people's birth certificates has always surfaced.

Recently he said, his office was approached by New Zealand police for information's about a Samoan facing criminal charges but was able to enter New Zealand using a deceased person's birth certificate.