Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Numbi—plausibility analysis ignoring evidence

Judge: Justice Boivin; Date heard: July 26, 2012; Date decided: August 30, 2012; Counsel for Numbi: Raoul Boulakia; Counsel for Minister: Sybil Thompson; Place of Hearing: Toronto, Ontario.

The applicants were citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whose refugee claim was refused. The principal applicant was a former employee of the Ministry of Finance who had “denounced the corruption and the embezzlement of funds carried out by the Congolese president”.

The RPD found it “implausible” that the principal applicant would be persecuted by the presidential security forces, as alleged, merely for reporting an irregularity. The RPD found it more likely that the applicant merely wanted to retire to Canada, in part because the principal applicant had taken a leave of absence and come to Canada on visitor’s visas. Despite significant evidence of human rights abuses in DRC, the RPD found that there was no evidence that the applicant had been persecuted during his long career.

Justice Boivin reaffirmed that the RPD “is entitled to make credibility findings based on implausibility, common sense and rationality” (para. 19). However, in the case at bar, “this finding is not supported by any evidence and as such,the Board could not reasonably make the implausibility finding that it did as it is not based on the documentation on record” (para. 20). In fact, the RPD had ignored evidence presented by the applicant that other state employees, politicians, journalists etc., had been killed for drawing attention to misappropriation of funds by the Congolese state.

Furthermore, the RPD ought not to have speculated about the applicant’s motivation for coming to Canada, and the RPD’s comments were unfounded (para. 23).

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