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Cablegate: Quarterly Fraud Report - Asmara

VZCZCXRO0259
PP RUEHDE RUEHGA RUEHNP
DE RUEHAE #0815/01 2890630
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 160630Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASMARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9178
RUEHPNH/NVC PORTSMOUTH NH 0306
INFO RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 0126
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 6136
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 0421
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 2989
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 1072
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0246
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 4736
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 0187
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 1413
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 1275
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1754
RUEHGA/AMCONSUL CALGARY 0013
RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 0033
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 0084
RUEHFT/AMCONSUL FRANKFURT 1310
RUEHMIL/AMCONSUL MILAN 0025
RUEHNP/AMCONSUL NAPLES 0006
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO 0005

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASMARA 000815

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/CA
DEPT FOR CA/FPP, CA/EX
PASS TO KCC
PASS TO INL/HSTC
POSTS FOR FRAUD PREVENTION MANAGERS
FRANKFURT FOR RCO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS KFRD CPAS CMGT ASEC ER
SUBJECT: QUARTERLY FRAUD REPORT - ASMARA

REF: A. Asmara 602 B.STATE 00205073

1. The following is a summary of fraud conditions experienced during
the July to September 2007 period.

--------------------------------------------- -
COUNTRY CONDITIONS - INCREASING DETERIORIATION
--------------------------------------------- -

2. (SBU) The Eritrean economic downward spiral continues. The
Government of the State of Eritrea's (GSE) self-proclaimed economic
policy of "self-reliance" had lead to food shortages, rationing of
basic commodities, and queues for limited supplies of bread.
Prospects for employment at all levels remain poor. The operations
of NGOs and aid agencies are strictly controlled and government
policies remain unreceptive toward their operations, leading to
needed aid not reaching many areas of the country. Large numbers of
Eritreans, especially those in their 20s, continue to flee illegally
to either Sudan or Ethiopia. A simmering border dispute with
Ethiopia is causing increased military tensions along the border and
heightened political rhetoric.

3. (SBU) The consular section in Asmara remains closed to most visa
services, but has continued limited issuances for extreme
humanitarian cases and those clearly in USG interests. The section
still provides document intake services for Immigrant and Diversity
visas and transfers cases to other posts upon request. We
anticipate remaining closed to visa services for the indefinite
future. Post continues to provide the full array of American
Citizen Services.

---------
NIV FRAUD
---------

4. (U) Post is not currently issuing NIVs in significant numbers.
The consular section continues to provide documentation verification
support upon request. Post was notified by the Consul General in
Nairobi of a case of an Eritrean passport showing indications of
removing the laminate and undergoing possible photo substitution.
Post notes that Eritrean passports have notoriously poor lamination
and adjudicating officers should look closely for signs of
alteration.

--------
IV FRAUD
--------

5. (U) Post is not currently processing IVs and has nothing to
report.

--------
DV FRAUD
--------

6. (U) Post is not currently processing DVs and has nothing to
report.

----------------------
ACS AND PASSPORT FRAUD
----------------------

7. (U) Post's ACS and Passport fraud are individual in nature,
showing no signs of organization, and are easily detected. Post

ASMARA 00000815 002 OF 002


received a few applications for U.S. passports from non-citizens
with no claim to citizenship, all from suspected emotionally
disturbed persons.

--------------
ADOPTION FRAUD
--------------

8. (SBU) Post noted one case of alleged adoption fraud during the
reporting period that is still ongoing. The adoption occurred in
2005 and the adoptive parents have returned with the children to
Eritrea to attempt to have the adoption overturned. Post has not
yet resolved outstanding questions regarding the conflicting stories
concerning the status of the children as orphans and the possible
complicity of the adoptive parents.

------------
ASYLUM FRAUD
------------

9. (U) Post has not processed asylum cases during the period and has
nothing to report.

--------------------------------------------
COOPERATION WITH HOST GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES
--------------------------------------------

10. (U) Post continues to receive no cooperation on consular issues
from the host government, other than routine document verification.

---------------------------
AREAS OF PARTICULAR CONCERN
---------------------------

11. (SBU) Conoff is making contingency plans for a possible
evacuation given the potential for hostilities between Eritrea and
Ethiopia. Post is prepared to verify all U.S. passports and claims
of relationships between Amcits and Eritreans/TCNs by working with
post management to secure additional LES and Officers to assist with
processing potential evacuees.

---------------------
STAFFING AND TRAINING
---------------------

12. (U) The consular staffing complement consists of one ConOff, two
LES, an unfilled MRV funded LES position, and an MRV funded Consular
Associate position. Conoff attended the Fraud Prevention conference
in Accra in April and will attend FPM training the next time it
becomes available. The senior LES has had fraud prevention
training, and the junior LES has been instructed to begin the FSI
OJT module on the subject.

13. (U) The backup Conoff (Pol/Econ Officer) departs post
permanently in December, but post's Management Officer holds a
consular commission. In addition, the incoming Pol/Econ Officer
will receive Congen prior to departing for post.

MCINTYRE

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