31 May 2017

Immigration NZ will not review sex offender decision

10:58 am on 31 May 2017

There is no way for Immigration New Zealand to review its decision to allow serial sex offender Sultan Ali Abdul Ali Akbari to remain in the country, the immigration minister says.

Michael Woodhouse

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse reinstated the MBIE agency's powers to make deportation decisions yesterday after he revoked them in relation to Akbari's case in April.

INZ had decided, acting on delegated authority from the minister, that Akbari should not be deported to Afghanistan provided he did not reoffend within five years.

That was despite Akbari, who was in New Zealand as a resident under a refugee family support category, having been released in February after a two-year sentence for five charges of indecent acts with girls under 12 and two of indecent assault of a woman.

He was also previously convicted of indecently assaulting a woman in 2013.

In reinstating INZ's powers, Mr Woodhouse ordered staff to advise him if they intended to let someone stay in the country after being convicted of a serious or sexual assault.

"In order to strengthen the integrity of the process and ensure that the Minister of Immigration is adequately informed about cases with certain risk factors, the Minister has decided to make an adjustment to the process," a spokeswoman said.

Mr Woodhouse would now also meet with officials every three months to discuss their approach to such cases.

In a letter to Immigration New Zealand, Mr Woodhouse asked for a formal briefing on whether the Akbari deportation decision could be reviewed.

A spokeswoman today said there was no legal ability for the deportation case to be reopened.

The documents show the Parole Board only extended Akbari's conditions to not enter public swimming pools, when it became aware of what is described as an incident involving a boy at a pool in 2013, which did not apparently lead to prosecution.

It drew attention to his "past behaviour" in shopping centres and said one of his convictions for committing an indecent act on a prepubescent girl happened in a mall.

Immigration New Zealand said police had no record of Mr Akbari exhibiting concerning behaviour since his release.