19 months jail for using fake passport to enter NZ

5:00 pm on 31 January 2017

A Fijian national who entered New Zealand under a false identity and was discovered using facial recognition evidence has been sentenced to 19 months in prison.


A fake passport was used by Kamla Wati to get into the country. Photo: supplied

Kamla Wati appeared in the Hamilton District Court today, after pleading guilty to three charges of providing false information in visa applications and one charge of fraudulently obtaining a passport.

Immigration New Zealand said the 59-year-old used an alias in a fraudulent passport to enter the country in 2015, after visa and residency applications were declined.

Immigration NZ said Wati visited New Zealand from Fiji on three occasions between September 2009 and March 2012, but numerous applications were declined on "character grounds".

She then entered New Zealand, using the fraudulently obtained passport under the alias, "Rukhmanny".

Spokesperson Peter Devoy said the case was uncovered when when Wati was asked to provide her original passport as part of the verification process for a temporary visa application.

"A facial comparison between photographs of Wati and Rukhmanny indicated they were the one and same person. A subsequent fingerprint analysis corroborated the facial recognition evidence."

Mr Devoy said the service's systems did not initially allow it connect her false identity with the identity she had used to visit New Zealand previously.

Mr Devoy said there were bound to be others who have entered the country in the same way, but it was not prevalent.

Wati will be deported after her completing her sentence.