Friday, May 18, 2012

Deeply disturbing

That's the only way to describe the claims, made in court today in an immigration fraud case, that a man would be granted citizenship because he had MPs in his pocket:

A Chinese millionaire on trial in the High Court at Auckland for fraud boasted to immigration officials that he had MP friends who would ensure he got citizenship.

The high-ranking officials were stunned when then Cabinet minister Shane Jones approved the application one day after getting his file. They were certain Yong Ming Yan, also known as Bill Liu, who had been red-flagged by Interpol, stood little chance.

But Yan leaned back in his chair, with his arms behind his head, and said he was 99 per cent confident he would get citizenship, the court was told yesterday.

"He said he had a lot of support from members of Parliament ... he was going to take them to China," Internal Affairs case officer Olele Johannes Gambo said.

The decision to grant Yan / Liu / whatever he calls himself this week citizenship seems to have been wholly unreasonable, and deserves a public explanation from those responsible. Obviously, they shouldn't give that explanation in the middle of a court case, as it could be prejudicial to the defendant's fair trial rights. But once this is over, I think we deserve an explanation from Shane Jones about exactly why he did it. Because absent one, the natural suspicion is that such an unreasonable and unjustifiable decision can only have been the result of corruption.

Update 22/05/2012: Jones has now given that explanation, and I think it is convincing.