WATCH ABOVE: Convicted on a drug charge, Michael Mvogo languished in jail for almost a decade. He entered the country on a fraudulent passport and it took years for the Canadian Border Services Agency to confirm his identity, in order to deport him. Mike Drolet reports.
A man who came to Canada on a fake U.S. passport a decade ago has been deported from the country after spending years in detention, sources tell Global News.
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) won’t confirm if Michael Mvogo was sent to Cameroon, but a source familiar with his case says he has already left the country.
Mvogo, now in his mid-50s, was convicted in 2006 of possessing crack cocaine — an amount that was worth $10. He served his sentence but never left jail.
Because he didn’t have a real passport to prove his identity and country of origin — and according to INTERPOL, he had eight identities — CBSA couldn’t deport him.
He became as known as the “man with no name.”
The agency spent five years trying to remove him from Canada, making failed attempts to send him to the U.S., Haiti and Guinea.
After he finally said in 2011 he was from Cameroon, it took until March of this year for CBSA to confirm his story.
The Cameroonian government wouldn’t cooperate with the Canadian investigation into his identity. So, CBSA sent an officer to the west African nation and to the tiny town of Mvengue to search the local birth registry, where the officer eventually found the faded stub of a birth certificate.
Mvogo’s supporters fought for his release from custody, where he spent a lot of time in solitary confinement.
“[It’s] horrible, you know?” he told Global’s 16×9 in a phone interview last December. “All that you have to talk to is the walls.”
His immigration consultant, MacDonald Scott, told 16×9 Mvogo wasn’t alone in being held for an indefinite amount of time because he was inadmissible to Canada.
And that is something that costs Canadian taxpayers greatly.
The bill to investigate Mvogo’s identity and to hold him for nine years has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, including the $239-a-day cost of keeping a detainee locked up — a total of $87,000 a year.
“Let’s say, worst-case scenario, Michael got out and he went on welfare. We’d be paying $600 a month to keep Michael from starving to death. That’s a lot less than $239 a day,” he said in an interview that aired in February.
A June report from the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Program called on CBSA to release inadmissible detainees like Mvogo until they can be deported or their status in Canada is determined.
A United Nations committee also criticized the Canadian government last year for keeping him locked up.
Toronto immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann said detaining people like Mvogo in this manner is like “twist[ing] your arm until you can’t take it anymore and you cry uncle.”
“We don’t have to accept every person who shows up on our shores,” he told Global News on Tuesday. “Some people need to be removed, who aren’t welcome. But, that doesn’t mean we should impose this kind of punishment for that kind of behaviour.”
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