Canada Investigates How CBSA Agent Got Fraudulent Passport From The Gambia
The Chronicle has learnt that the passport acquired by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in its efforts to deport Ebrahim Touray, a longtime Gambian immigration detainee in Canada, was fraudulently obtained in Banjul. An investigation, in The Gambia, into how a passport with Touray’s credentials was issued in Banjul to a rogue agent of the CBSA has already led to the arrest of one Ali Fofana according to police sources in Banjul.
The fraudulently issued passport to deport Touray is just the latest twist in a years-long saga for this Gambian, who was previously held in immigration detention for more than five years between February 2013 and September 2018 — most of that time in a maximum-security provincial jail in Canada, despite never being criminally charged.
Touray arrived in Canada in 2013 and was since detained after he admitted a Gambian passport he had was fake when he applied for refugee status. He was released from detention in September 2018 when the CBSA admitted it had no idea when it would be able to deport him. Since then, Ebrahim Touray had been regularly reporting to the CBSA, as per the conditions of his release, when in November he was re-detained because the CBSA officials said they had acquired travel documents for him.
The sudden appearance of a Gambian passport from Banjul to help deport Ebrahim Touray triggered questions from Touray’s lawyer, Jared Will. He first raised questions about the authenticity of the documents obtained by the Canada Border Services Agency and the actions of Dale Lewis, the CBSA officer in charge of Touray’s case, at a hearing at the Immigration and Refugee Board last month.
CBSA’s agent Dale Lewis gave evasive and confusing testimony at the quasi-judicial tribunal, which ultimately found him not be credible. Lewis could not explain why he communicated with Gambian authorities via his personal email and WhatsApp, rather than his government email. He also said he may have lost or deleted much of his communications with Gambian authorities; Lewis further said he relied on a confidential informant whose identity was known only to him; that he had never read the CBSA’s policy on the use of confidential informants; and generally kept very few investigative records.
This was when one of Ebrahim Touray’s friends in Toronto sought help in The Gambia to make inquiries at the passport office in Banjul. The duo subsequently enlisted lawyer, Lamin L. Darboe, who requested a formal report from the Gambia Immigration Department. Lawyer Lamin L. Darboe, who confirmed the veracity of the document was then hired by Jared Will, Ebrahim Touray’s lawyer, to have the report authenticated by Gambia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The man Gambian police have arrested for committing the alleged forgery and fraud to make Touray’s passport is identified as one Ali Fofana, who is believed to use the alias Ali Kanuteh. He once lived in Canada where he was detained and deported from. Mohamadou Dukuray, the friend of Ebrahim Touray who, at one time also served as Kanuteh’s bondsperson in Canada to secure his release from detention, said Ali Fofana and Ali Kanuteh are the same person.
The Gambian investigation found that although the passport issued to secure Touray’s deportation was itself authentic, the supporting documents used by Ali Fofana to obtain it were likely forged. The Gambia Immigration Department however told Canadian authorities that its agents and officers a clear from any wrongdoing in the issuance of the fraudulent passport.
Ebrahim Touray’s lawyer, Jared Will who is asking the Federal Court to quash Touray’s deportation order said that given how Fofana was “uprooted” from his life in Canada, “He
was in an extremely vulnerable position and what’s truly unacceptable is for the CBSA to operate in this manner, engaging private citizens to conduct public business in foreign jurisdictions without any oversight and without any ability to determine whether or not what’s being done is lawful.”
The Canada Border Services Agency is now investigating agent Dale Lewis’s conduct. The agency was planning to deport Touray on Friday 11th December 2020. But earlier this month — before Gambian authorities conducted their investigation — Touray’s lawyer requested and received a 30-day deferral.
Ebrahim Touray, whose wife gave birth to their first child on Dec. 4 in Canada, is currently subject to electronic monitoring via an ankle bracelet.