Immigration Officials Silent On Cover-Up

Immigration officials silent on cover-up

By Patrick Gower
The New Zealand Herald
4:00AM Thursday Aug 20, 2009

Immigration officials tried to cover up renewed investigations of National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi's alleged involvement in an immigration scam – and are still refusing to say why.

Officials told the Herald they were not making inquiries again when asked last month.

That was despite interviewing a new informant a week before on July 17 and deciding to pass the matter to police.

The Herald this week obtained details of the video interview and its location at Immigration NZ offices in Queen St, Auckland.

The Department of Labour, which oversees Immigration NZ, has still not given its reasons for trying to hide the information.

The department had previously set up an inquiry team to find why staff released information to the Herald about its investigation without getting Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman's permission.

Labour MP Pete Hodgson yesterday questioned Dr Coleman in Parliament about vetting releases relating to his colleague Mr Bakshi, saying the more he interfered “the more likely it is that he will be viewed as protecting his colleague”.

* Stephen Dunstan, acting head of Immigration New Zealand, says it remains the agency's perspective that it is not currently investigating Mr Bakshi. The department did not make any new inquiries after the immigration investigation was closed on 2 April, but was provided with new information which was assessed and passed on to the police, he said. “What seems to have happened is a misunderstanding between us about what constitutes an inquiry or investigation,” Mr Dunstan told the Herald following publication of the story above.