By Julian Pecquet - 07/08/13 09:02 PM EDT
A State Department consular officer in Guyana is accused of selling visas to the United States to suspected drug dealers and others in exchange for sex and cash bribes.
Media reports in the South American country say Edy Zohar Rodrigues Duran has since been removed from the sensitive position and is back in the United States. The State Department confirmed on Monday that allegations had been leveled against one of its employees in Guyana.
“We are aware of the allegations of improprieties relating to a consular officer formerly assigned to Georgetown, Guyana,” State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at her daily briefing. “This department takes all allegations of misconduct by employees seriously.
“We are reviewing the matter thoroughly. If the allegations are substantiated we will work with the relevant authorities to hold anyone involved accountable.”
Federal officials have been sent to Guyana to investigate the claims, the Guyana Observer News reported.
The allegations come as the State Department is battling charges that department higher-ups quashed investigations into the use of prostitutes by a U.S. ambassador and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's bodyguards. The State Department has denied political interference into any internal probes but would not comment on specific cases, saying some of them remained under investigation.
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