Delamere complains of blackmail
Thursday March 29, 2007
By Patrick Gower
A senior Auckland detective is assessing a complaint of blackmail made against four high-ranking immigration officials by their former minister Tuariki John Delamere.
The complaint follows Mr Delamere's acquittal on a raft of charges of defrauding the department after a High Court trial.
The charges against Mr Delamere were laid by the Serious Fraud Office which claimed that while working as an immigration consultant he told the Immigration service $1 million had been invested by each of seven overseas clients in a New Zealand company, qualifying them for residency. It was alleged the same $1 million was used seven times over.
Mr Delamere has now complained to police that two of the immigrant officials threatened the seven clients with the revocation of their visas or resident permits for failing to provide information about the company, Golden Harvest. He said the revocation order was made by two other officials when the information was not provided. The matter was now in the hands of the Immigration Minister.
In the complaint, obtained by the Herald, Mr Delamere said it was “a gross breach of one's basic rights to natural justice to be penalised for not providing information that belongs to a third party”.
“It is especially repugnant when the [immigration service] admit they knew this to be the case but went ahead with what can only be described as criminal blackmail.”
Mr Delamere also claims in the complaint that people in the immigration service have wanted to “shut me up” because of his demands for an investigation into the possible bribery of officers.
He has attached a number of letters and court transcripts to the police complaint.
A police spokeswoman said a senior detective was “assessing” Mr Delamere's complaint. She would not name the officer.
Following his acquittal, Mr Delamere said he was “set up” by the SFO and was considering taking legal action to recover the $1 million it cost to defend the charges. It took a jury less than two hours to find him not guilty of the 14 charges of fraud and forgery.
Department of Labour chief executive James Buwalda said the officials denied the charges and would co-operate with police inquiries.
Immigration Minister David Cunliffe refused to comment.
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