A statement released today said, “The Government had absolutely no knowledge that Mr Dame had entered into any such lease.”
BenarNews reports the residence, which investigators raided on December. 22, was used as a base for forging passports by foreigners including two Chinese nationals wanted by Beijing, Thai police have said.
Dame’s whereabouts as well as his and the Nauru consulate’s role, if any, in the passport mill are unclear. According to the Thai police, the illicit operation forged Chinese and Nauru passports reports BenarNews,
It further reports Dame’s term as consul-general had expired in November, Pol. Gen. Surachate Hakparn, Thailand’s deputy national police chief, told a press conference on Monday.
The consulate entered into the property lease in early September when Dame still headed it, according to a legal letter on behalf of the leasing company, a copy of which BenarNews obtained.
“If the consul-general told the Chinese to stay [at the property], he is taken as supporting the Chinese. If so, he was at fault. But it will be based on the investigation,” Surachate said.
An employee at Nauru’s consulate in Thailand said on Tuesday that Dame had been recalled – a term that can cover various scenarios including the scheduled end of a posting, a diplomat’s poor behavior, or a government wanting to convey its displeasure with the host country.
The Nauru Government said it understands the allegations are to the effect that the residence was used as a facility for illegal operations by foreigners, including Chinese nationals wanted by Beijing, for forging passports.
The Government further confirmed that any use of the official seal of the Government and reference to the Office of the Consul-General on any such lease of the alleged residence was neither sanctioned nor authorised.
“The Government of Nauru categorically refutes all allegations or implications of any association by the Government of Nauru to the occupants of the alleged residence in any way or any involvement or even knowledge of their alleged illegal activities.”
The Government said it is currently in the process of undertaking its own investigation into the matter as far as the allegations against the former consul-general is concerned.
“The Government further notes that this matter is the subject of ongoing investigations in Bangkok and wishes to reassure the authorities concerned that the Government of Nauru stands ready to cooperate in whatever way that may be required to assist in such investigations.”
Photo Benar News Caption: A security guard checks vehicles entering and exiting a compound of high-end residences in Bangkok, Jan. 18, 2022. The Pacific island nation of Nauru rented a home in the compound for its consul-general to Thailand, his family and staff, but Chinese nationals used it as a base for forging passports, Thai police have said