The Laundry Man by Kenneth Rijock ( Penguin/Random House UK)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Semlex Group, the Belgian biometric passport and ID card firm that is currently working for the Commonwealth of Dominica, and whose goal is to create ID cards for all citizens there, has a dark reputation in Africa, where it vends passports, and provides other ID services. Simply put, it pays substantial bribes & kickbacks to government officials, to obtain the business.

Additionally, it intentionally charges individuals in those countries for whom it is manufacturing passports clearly excessive fees, and then passes on only a small fraction of its profits to the countries that it services. Some of the passport charged are so exorbitant that they are not affordable to the average individual.

We have previously detailed the scandal in the Comoros Islands, involving Semlex, and its owner, Albert Karaziwan, a Syrian national who is believed to have funds the company's startup operations through an extended period of criminal activity, a decade ago, where he sold counterfeit diplomatic passports in Europe.

Albert Karaziwan

Some of the illegal countries where bribes & kickbacks, or other illegal acts of Semlex Group,  are  known to have taken place:

(1) A $700,000 bribe paid by Karaziwan, to get the government passport business in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

(2) Collecting such clearly excessive fees, from passport applicants, in Mozambique, that the contract was terminated. The citizens could not afford the fees.

(3) Bribes paid in Guinea-Bissau.

(4) Excessive passport fees charged in Madagascar.

(5) Bribes paid in Chad.

We wonder exactly how much  Semlex, through Karaziwan, is kicking back to individuals in the government of Dominica, and whether ID cards will end up for sale to foreign nationals, at high prices, to establish a bogus identity.
©2018 Kenneth Rijock; contributed by Kenneth Rijock.

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