Guido has established that the passport found in the UK Border Agency raid on Lolo’s flat was expired long before Lolo got her job with Baroness Scotland. There is quite simply no way that she could have used that passport to prove anything to the Baroness. The UKBA raid found the documents as described in Lolo’s interview in the Mail on Sunday.
What does this mean? It means that so far no evidence has been uncovered to support Patricia Scotland’s claim that she saw a valid passport – obviously if the passport existed and she had taken a copy of it she would have been in the clear. Noticeably in the earliest comments briefed to the press there was no mention of a passport, “She hired Ms Tapui in good faith and saw documents which led her to believe that Ms Tapui was entitled to work in this country”. Later in the week when investigators from the UKBA interviewed the Attorney General informally, not under caution, she claimed to have seen a passport. That is her line with the press now.
The Sunday papers have all been spun the same line
A spokeswoman for Scotland said she had given the same details to the UK Border Agency when they interviewed her, adding: “They completely accepted our version of events.”
Privately UKBA investigators don’t entirely accept Lady Scotland’s version of events without reservation, which is why they have been trying, without success so far, to establish with the Tongan High Commission in London whether or not a second subsequent passport for Lolo had been issued. As yet they have been unable to establish conclusively the truth of Lolo’s claim that she has never applied for a second passport.
Consider the implications: if, as Lolo claims, she did not have a second passport it would mean that for the Baroness to be telling the truth, Lolo would have had to presented her with a false forged passport. Forged passports do not come cheap, demand from drug traffickers, terrorists and other criminals ensures that the black market in passports commands high prices. How would a cleaner applying for a £6 per hour job afford to obtain a forged passport? If Lolo is telling the truth than the Baroness has possibly lied to investigators from the UK Border Agency.
The only alternative explanation which would support Lady Scotland’s story is that Lolo did in fact obtain a second passport from the Tongan High Commission in London or from the issuing authority in Tonga. She could then feasibly have faked a permission to stay stamp in the passport. The UKBA investigation is going to find out the truth this week. If there is in fact no second passport (the raid of course did not find one) we will be expected to believe the assertions of the Attorney General, despite there being no evidence to support her assertions. We will be expected to believe that Lolo had the ability, finances and motivation to obtain a forged passport merely to get a minimum wage cleaning job. Does that make more sense than the reason the Baroness did not make a copy of the passport is that there simply wasn’t a passport to copy?
The Baroness better hope the Tongan authorities uncover a second passport application…
UPDATE : In the comments the question is posed as to why the UKBA determined and issued a fine so fast. The simple answer is they were under tremendous political pressure. The fine was half the maximum £10,000 because the Baroness had “cooperated”. Summary justice in 36 hours is amazing.